LeBron James is smiling because even after an embarrassing hour-long ESPN special this summer that maligned him to the majority of humans not residing in South Beach, and even after his hometown fans burned his Cleveland jerseys and turned his name into a curse word, and even after his new team faced scrutiny all season long and even after the tears in the locker room — LeBron James is very wealthy.
So wealthy, in fact, that the 26-year-old has accepted a minority stake in the soccer club owned by the Fenway Sports Group. Liverpool? Maybe you've heard of it. FSG bought Liverpool last October for $448 million. The deal, reported by the Wall Street Journal, will unite FSG — headed by Red Sox owner John Henry and producer Tom Werner — with James's own marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing. This means James will now be represented by FSG, and that a lot of terms like "global image" and "international appeal" are being thrown around. Henry and Werner's adviser, Tom Wachter, arranged the deal through LRMR chief executive (and James's former high school teammate) Maverick Carter.
James, who earns $15.8 million with the Heat and about $30 million annually with his slew of endorsements, says he is excited to wear a Liverpool jersey and to visit the pitch at Anfield. The Reds have won 18 division championships in the club's 119-year history. "Eighteen championships," James told the Journal. "I see myself trying to do the same things they have." And since the Journal can't drop an "ahem" in after that comment, we'll do that now.
Big day for James. He's a minority owner in one of the most dominant and beloved soccer clubs in the world, and his dreadful animated show debuted. "The LeBrons" follows four characters inspired by LeReal LeBron: Athlete, Kid, Business and Wise. We can assume that the FSG move must represent the Wise-Business-Athlete.
LeBron James in Deal With Fenway Sports [Wall Street Journal]