It’s not easy to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time while simultaneously going after business opportunities. Somehow, LeBron James does both and he makes it look easy. Though it raises a pretty interesting question, is LeBron James a true entrepreneur?
Is LeBron James An Entrepreneur?
The short answer to this question is yes. LeBron James is surprisingly one of the more underrated entrepreneurs that we have in the country right now. He owns multiple companies and is invested in a handful of others. Additionally, he has created several very powerful brands that he has built up over his years in the NBA. Collectively they reach into many facets of Entertainment, Sports, Business and Culture.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to constantly try and decide what your best financial moves are each and every day. LeBron seems to understand this well, which is the exact reason why he was able to come away with his best business move to date.
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Best Business Move
It’s hard to tell whether a specific move was a person’s best in terms of entrepreneurship, especially when there are so many good ones. However, we are fairly certain that LeBron’s decision to create SpringHill Entertainment has to be his best to date. This is a company that James was able to create alongside his business partner Maverick Carter. The two of them badly wanted to get into the filmmaking industry and this was their ticket to doing so. We’ve seen this production company create multiple documentaries already, along with some top tier movies and television shows to accompany animations as well. Space Jam for example was created with the company and LeBron stars in the movie himself. Not to mention that SpringHill Entertainment works with a variety of big-time platforms like Netflix, ESPN and Disney among many others. Forbes estimated that the company is currently worth $300 million. However, it could wind up going for a lot more in the future. Forbes announced that LeBron actually decided to sell significant minority stakes in the company that were estimated to be worth about $750 million. Some investors like Epic Games and Nike were able to obtain those shares. Don’t worry though, LeBron is still estimated to be the single largest shareholder in the company to date anyways.
We’ve covered his ownership of SpringHill Entertainment, but that’s hardly the only company he has an ownership stake in. Fenway Sports Group is another company that he’s currently involved with at that level. He and Carter were hoping to get involved with Fenway in order to dive into the sports world even with LeBron still playing in the NBA. The decision wound up being a good one as the two of them were able to become part owners of both the Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox MLB team. With this success comes even more expectations, as LeBron admitted that he hopes to own a Las Vegas based NBA team in the future, though that might be a little too far away for the time being. Next is Blaze Pizza. LeBron said that he loved the food that they provided and wanted to get in on the ground level as soon as possible. He and the rest of his investment group gave $1 million and now LeBron owns a few of the properties around the world. He promotes the establishment frequently and has even pulled a few pranks with them. One of them being when he worked behind the counter for the day under the alias of “Ron” and helped customers at the front. Another company he owns is Uninterrupted. Do you all remember the time when Fox News reporter Laura Ingraham told LeBron and other athletes to “Shut up and dribble”? Well, LeBron certainly did and created Uninterrupted because of this moment. He wanted to make athletes feel like they can open up and tell their own sides of the story. When you go over there, you can find all sorts of things like podcasts, short videos, and even some films with all of them involving athletes. Finally, we have to cover Ladder. Nobody really knows about Ladder which is a shame because they are actually quite good. Ladder is all about helping people reach their fitness goals by creating supplements that people can take daily. Other legendary celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger are partnered with LeBron to make sure this is the best company it can be.
Massive Nike Deal
Finally, we come to one of the biggest parts of LeBron James success as an entrepreneur. His ability to negotiate with Nike was one that helped him cross the $1 billion mark. Forbes initially stated that passed the billionaire status but some have said that after taxes he falls a bit below. Nevertheless, he’s close enough. He couldn’t have gotten near this total if it wasn’t for Nike, the company that helped kickstart his brand and image. The first deal he created with the shoe company came back when he was just 18 years old. It was estimated to be worth $90 million at the time and would last over the course of seven years. He even turned down offers from other companies in order to stick with Nike. When that deal ended, LeBron signed a lifetime contract with the company to ensure that he wouldn’t be going anywhere. Some rumors suggest that the contract is worth $1 billion. If this were to end up being true, it would definitely be one of the largest deals that they’ve ever handed out to a superstar. LeBron has continued to make profits off of this deal with those shoes flying off the racks and other merchandise going just as fast. Without Nike helping to thrust him forward with personal merch, we might not have seen him grow into this brand as fast as we did. It’s incredibly important to have a great image and brand set in place if you want to split off into other entrepreneurial opportunities, and LeBron has been managing it perfectly so far.
Is Lebron James a Billionaire?
While Lebron will always, in some way, be defined by his pursuit of Michael Jordan. He has managed to cross the Billionaire milestone way ahead of the GOAT. In 2022, at the age of just 37 Lebron was declared a Billionaire by Forbes. This is due to a collection of his NBA Salary, Nike and other endorsement deals, businesses he has invested in and brands and revenue streams he has created himself.
Does Lebron James own an NBA Franchise?
Again we are going to link this to His Airness himself. It is well known that while MJ has been a shrewd and successful business man for some time it was his ownership of the Charlotte Hornets NBA Franchise that pushed him over that Billionaire bracket.
With persistent rumors that Lebron plans to own an expansion franchise soon after retiring and becoming eligible to do so, it seems like his wealth is only going to grow once he finally hangs up his sneakers for good. Until then, Lebron is unable to own an NBA Franchise, due to restrictions on current players having ownership stakes.