So LeBron James has acquired a stake in Liverpool but who, exactly, is he? Here's a handy guide for those of you who think Basketball is Netball with added bling...
The agreement between James's sports-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing and Fenway Sports Group has John Henry and Tommy Werners company as LeBron’s exclusive world-wide representatives in return for a minority share in the Reds. The deal marks the first time that a professional athlete at the top of his game has taken an ownership interest in a team with the size and prestige of Liverpool. After the Gillette and Hicks debacle scousers, plastic or otherwise, may be wary about another American investing in their club. But if like my flatmate you consider basketball men’s netball you’ll have no idea who he is. So who is this LeBron James chap?
LeBron The Icon
Blessed with the rare combination of speed, strength and skill James achieved a ridiculous amount when he was still at high school, picking up three state championships in four years. He was also the first high school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was only the second No.1 pick in the NBA draft straight from high school. All of which were a very big deal.
Before he’d played a professional game Nike gave James 90 million reasons to sign with them, it’s a wonder he found time to star in the documentary More Than A Game chronicling his journey from high school phenomenon to NBA superstar. The impact James has had on the league and it’s fans prompted people who are paid to know about these things to say LeBron has the skills and demeanour to be the closest basketball has seen to it’s ultimate pin up boy Michael Jordan.
In seven years with the Cavs he’d broke a host of records and won every award in the game bar one. The big one. An NBA championship ring. When James promised fans he’d bring an NBA championship to Cleveland nobody in the city would argue with the tattoo that takes up much of his broad back proclaiming himself as the ‘Chosen One’.
The bad news for Liverpool fans is if for whatever reason it does go tits up James has dealt with people burning his shirt on TV and making nasty videos about him and as far as I can tell he doesn’t give a shit
LeBron The Anti Christ
LeBron The Businessman
LeBron has deep pockets that will only get deeper. In addition to his £9.7 million salary from the Miami Heat, he earns an estimated £18.5 million annually from endorsements with little known family businesses like McDonald's, Nike, and Coca-Cola. Outside of the silly money he earns from bouncing a ball and eating cheeseburgers in his basketball jersey James has big plans to build his portfolio internationally, saying "The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman". Last year LeBron formed a partnership with Dr. Dre launching a line of high-performance sports headphones known as PowerBeats. Estimates for how much the deal will be worth to LeBron range from ‘loads’ to shit loads’.
So who is LeBron James? The second coming of Jordan? The antichrist? A shrewd businessman? The first two are up for debate; the third is set in stone.
What does this mean for Liverpool? Aside from gaining another celebrity fan who knows. The good news for Liverpool fans is James has shown he’s not scared to make tough decisions in his quest to win. The bad news for Liverpool fans is if for whatever reason it does go tits up James has dealt with people burning his shirt on TV and making nasty videos about him and as far as I can tell he doesn’t give a shit. If the worst comes to the worst maybe another cringe inducing boo-fest where Liverpool’s famous sons moan about the way their club is run would sway the big man to go with the will of the fans. But I doubt it.
The only thing that is certain is my flatmate should grow up. Basketball is a brilliant sport and LeBron is ace at it.
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