Investment guru Warren Buffett knows a savvy business mind when he sees it – and he reportedly sees it in NBA superstar LeBron James.
“People really do have minds that function better than other people’s in certain areas that you can’t give a test for," Buffett recently told USA Today.
“And LeBron, in addition to a lot of other talents, he has a money mind. And he gets stuff," Buffett said.
James and Buffett, the Burkshire Hathaway CEO who became a billionaire in 1990, have "communicated periodically" since the two met after James joined the NBA in 2003, USA Today reported.
James in July agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. The move pairs the NBA’s biggest star with its most iconic franchise and stands to improve the fortunes of more than just the team’s fans, Bloomberg reported.
James has made $765 million, according to a recent Forbes report. James reportedly makes more than $50 million per year annually through endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, Kia, Intel and Blaze Pizza, the most of any NBA player off the court.
Meanwhile, the Lakers, the team owned by the Buss Family and Anschutz Entertainment Group, is already one of the league’s most valuable franchises. Forbes last year pegged its value at $3.3 billion, trailing only the New York Knicks ($3.6 billion), thanks largely to the team’s brand strength and local-media deals that bring in more than $150 million a year. Snagging James should propel the Lakers to the top of the list, valuation expert Peter Schwartz says.
James has been public about his business ambitions, many of which will benefit from playing in L.A., the so-called Entertainment Capital of the World. He and business partner Maverick Carter founded SpringHill Entertainment, which produces films and TV shows, and Uninterrupted, a media platform for athletes that has raised money from Warner Bros. and Turner Sports. In joining the Lakers, he also joins forces with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the most successful athletes-turned-entrepreneurs ever and president of the team’s basketball operations.
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