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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Few Lingering Thoughts and Clarifications on Business LeBron

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 3:14 PM

On an otherwise uneventful afternoon while we all wait for the Cavs to finally get back to the action, there are a few things I wanted to clarify regarding this piece.

A couple people have said it's crazy to think that LeBron wouldn't make more in New York than he does in Cleveland. The gist of this argument is that there's more business opportunities in the NYC and each one of those opportunities would carry a bigger check than a similar one would for LeBron Version 330.

First, y'all know that LeBron has a regular full-time job, right? He plays professional basketball, which takes up, oh, I don't know, a whole lot of freaking time. When he's not doing that, he's also been on Team USA, meaning, more weeks and months away for practice and games.

When do you think he has time to take on 17 new business ventures? Sure, LRMR handles a lot of stuff for The King, but a whole lot of stuff also depends on LeBron showing up for photoshoots, or commercials, etc.

He tends to focus on one big thing at time. Last summer, it was the tour for the LeBron VII and More Than a Game. This summer, he's filming a movie. There's only so many days in the year, folks.

Second, LeBron and his people are highly selective in who they choose to work with. Sure, LeBron living in Akron might get 110 business proposals in a year and LeBron living in New York might get 575 business proposals, but LeBron's only going to say yes to the same people. Yes, there would be more people beating down LRMR's door to get a piece of James in New York, but that really means nothing, especially since LeBron and his team have turned down plenty of otherwise attractive offers in the past. See, if you're not McDonalds or Coke or Nike, then...

From the same Esquire article quoted in the original post:

Maverick says, "Absolutely. If it's not AUTHENTIC to LeBron, then definitely not. We don't do sponsorships. See, sponsorship is" — he points to the State Farm logo on one of the bike-a-thon banners — "State Farm pays, then they get to put their names on it. Partnership is: State Farm pays to put their name on it, but they also bring something to the table. Instead of just money."

It's charming to be in control.

"The biggest deal we've said no to," Maverick says, scratching his chin and considering the options, "was $2.5 million a year. Now that's per year. Four years. Per year. It wasn't necessarily that the brand wasn't right. It just wasn't the right time for LeBron to do it."

It's charming to say fuck you to $10 million.

"It's mostly my responsibility," Maverick continues. "LeBron focuses on being the best basketball player in the world. I do most of the negotiations. He's gonna help, but it's not like he's involved in negotiation. That's why it's important to establish the team. He does come in on top-line meetings. But he's not going back and forth on e-mails. He's involved from a top-line perspective."

This right before the author summarizes a meeting held annually in Akron with LRMR and top level executives from all of the companies that work with LeBron — Nike, State Farm, Coke — all congregating in a Hilton in Akron to do business with James.

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