LeBron James is continuing to pave the path for athletes in business.
The 33-year-old signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last month, but despite being yet to make a single appearance for the 16-time champions, James is already getting busy in Hollywood as pointed out by Yahoo Finance.
Earlier this week, Showtime announced he would be producing a three-part docu-series called “Shut Up and Dribble,” with the name stemming from the insult Fox News host Laura Ingraham made to James when he was speaking about politics earlier this year. The show will focus on the changing role of athletes in the current political and cultural climate, which is fitting considering President Donald Trump’s latest controversial tweet to the Akron native.
In addition, James has another show called “The Shop” that debuts Aug. 28 on HBO. It will be based on candid conversations between himself and fellow athletes and celebrities.
It doesn’t stop there as James and his business partner Maverick Carter have also produced a youth football docu-series called “Warriors of Liberty City” that will debut on Starz next month while the three-time NBA champion is also widely expected to appear in “Space Jam 2” — the sequel to the first movie that featured Michael Jordan.
It’s not only his media ventures that James is involved with. He is also an investor in Blaze Pizza, last year named as the fastest-growing restaurant chain ever.
In 2014, James made more than $30 million when Beats by Dre was sold to Apple. He also holds equity with Premier League club Liverpool, with his $6.5 million investment growing by nearly five times since he received a 2 percent stake in April 2011.
He is also giving back to his community with the opening of the I Promise school, a free tuition public school geared toward at-risk children in his native Akron, Ohio. Other NBA stars have since wanted to emulate James by giving back to their communities.
LeBron James is leading the path for his fellow athletes. In this picture, James addresses the media after the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, July 30, 2018. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images
While there is a risk for James and his ventures if he continues to speak about politics and the current administration, especially given what it’s done to players who spoke out in the NFL, he is fortunate to be in the more progressive NBA.
The NBA has the most liberal fanbase among the four major pro leagues as per FiveThirtyEight, while James is also playing his basketball in cities (Cleveland and Los Angeles) whose counties voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
James has the support and same viewpoints of his fellow NBA professionals as well, many of whom hit back at Trump for his tweet insulting the Lakers star.
Despite the rivalries he holds with certain players and teams, it’s not a surprise that many are following his footsteps outside the court. As Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green pointed out, James was the player who influenced his thinking in business.
“He’s done an amazing job and actually opened up a lot of doors for a lot of us athletes in the route that we’re taking now,” Green said. “In being more involved as partners, as opposed to endorsees.”
Now plying his trade in Los Angeles for the next couple of years, one can expect even more business deals and investments from James, who has cemented himself as one of the most influential athletes of all time.
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