LeBron James graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 16 — labeled "The Chosen One."

Now 36, he's exceeded expectations.

This is the story of how @KingJames lived up to the hype, built an empire & impacted millions of lives in the process.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in 2003...

LeBron James, an 18-year-old senior from Akron, Ohio, is the greatest high school basketball player of all-time.

Nicknamed "King James," LeBron was a shoo-in to be the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft — but first he had a decision:

Reebok or Nike?
2) Before he met with Nike in 2003, Reebok made an 18-year-old LeBron James the offer of a lifetime.

Reebok offered @KingJames $115M, with a $10M check upfront.

The catch?

He had to accept on the spot.

Despite living in a $17/month apartment, LeBron declined.

Next up, Nike.
3) Having the wisdom not to accept the first offer he received, LeBron James headed to Nike — eventually accepting a historic $90M deal.

At $90M, @KingJames secured the richest shoe deal for a rookie in NBA history before ever playing a game.

Now, it was time to get to work.
4) From 2003 to 2020, @KingJames has put together a legendary resume — cementing himself as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time.

— 4x NBA MVP
— 4x NBA Champion
— 4x NBA Finals MVP
— 16x NBA All-Star

Even more impressive?

He has built a massive business while doing it.
5) Here's a wild stat:

Despite his desire to play 4-5 more years, @KingJames is already the highest-earning NBA player of all time — making ~$350M in salary alone.

The interesting part?

By multiplying it through investments, he's set to become basketball's second billionaire.
6) From an investing standpoint, @KingJames has changed the game forever.

Today's superstar athletes now demand equity ownership, rather than "old-school" endorsement fees.

Simply put, LeBron doesn't just endorse companies — he owns them.

Here's a few examples…
7) When Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine started Beats in 2007, @KingJames wanted a piece.

Rather than becoming just another celebrity endorser, LeBron received 1% equity in the business.

When Apple bought Beats for $3B in 2016, LeBron took home $30M — which was more than his NBA salary.
8) In 2011, rather than accepting cash, @KingJames received a 2% stake in Liverpool FC as part of business deal with Fenway Sports Group.

As Liverpool improved, so has LeBron's investment.

Originally valued at $6.5M, @KingJames' stake is now worth more than ~$45M - or 7x more.
9) In 2012, LeBron James and his business partner @mavcarter acquired 10% of Blaze Pizza for ~$1 million.

Blaze Pizza Revenue:
2012: $800,000
2015: $100 million
2019: $400 million

With endorsement fees included, @KingJames' stake is now worth about $50 million.
10) As if that wasnt enough, @KingJames has continued to expand his business.

Springhill Entertainment, his media company run by @mavcarter, received a $100M investment in June.

He also launched a tequila—Lobos 1707—looking to replicate George Clooney's $1B sale of Casamigos.
11) Looking to give back, @KingJames has continuously reinvested in his home of Akron, Ohio.

He's donated millions to local schools & even opened a 450+ student school in 2018.

He's also launching House 330, where families can learn financial literacy & receive job training.
12) When it comes to LeBron James, it's actually quite simple:

He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 — labeled "The Chosen One" — yet somehow still exceeded expectations.

Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us wouldn't be able to handle that pressure at 16.
13) In the end, whether we're talking about sports, business, or philanthropy, @KingJames will go down as one of the greatest of all-time.

While everyone continues to debate who the GOAT is, one thing has become abundantly clear:

LeBron James changed the game forever.
14) If you enjoyed this thread, you should:

1. Follow me, I tweet cool sports business stories every day.

2. Subscribe to my free daily newsletter where I give a detailed analysis on topics involving the money and business behind sports.


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More from @JoePompliano

31 Dec 20
I've written 100+ threads in the last 6 months, covering the best stories involving the money and business behind sports.

While it was nearly impossible to decide, I've picked 5 of my favorites.

Enjoy! You're guaranteed to learn something :)

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) The story of Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA role player who turned his $350,000 salary into $600 million.


Fast food.

2) The greatest business deal in sports history.

How two brothers made $800 million as basketball team owners, without ever actually owning an NBA team.

Read 7 tweets
30 Dec 20
After dominating internationally for more than a decade, David Beckham moved to Los Angeles in 2007 — signing with the LA Galaxy of MLS.

The interesting part?

Despite a 70% reduction in salary, it's one of the most lucrative sports contracts ever.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some history:

Playing internationally from 1992 to 2007, David Beckham became one of the best players in the world.

But at 31-years-old, now a global superstar, Beckham had a choice to make — move to the US or continue his career internationally?

Hello Hollywood…
2) In 2007, David Beckham left Real Madrid — signing a five-year contract with the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

From a salary perspective, the deal paid Beckham $32.5M — or $6.5M annually.

The intersting part?

He made much more than that.

Let's run through it…
Read 12 tweets
28 Dec 20
From luxury cars to personalized shotguns, NFL quarterbacks & running backs get creative when taking care of their offensive linemen.

Here are 5 of my favorite gifts ever.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) After the Patriots’ 2007 season — a campaign which ended with a 16-0 regular-season record before losing in Super Bowl XLII — Tom Brady gifted each of his 5 starting linemen brand new Audi Q7 SUVs.

The cost?

Valued at ~$40,000 each, the generous gift was worth about $200,000
2) After the 2012 season, which saw Adrian Peterson rush or 2,097 yards — the 2nd-most in NFL history — the Vikings RB gave his linemen a Minnesota-Esque gift.

What was it?

Personalized Arctic Cat Snowmobiles.

At more than $8,000 each, the gift cost Peterson $40,000+ in total.
Read 8 tweets
23 Dec 20
Peloton currently has over 3 million global members.

Their long-term goal?

100 million.

While most laugh, I actually think it's possible.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Since being founded by John Foley in 2012, Peloton has dominated the multi-year transition to at-home fitness.

The fitness equipment & media company has over 3 million members currently, but how do they get to 100 million?

Let's run through it…
2) First off, existing Peloton subscribers aren't going anywhere.

Here's a wild stat:

The average Peloton user is working out almost 21x per month, which is ~2x more often than they were in 2019.

The pandemic certainly helps, but don't forget:

Addictions are hard to break.
Read 16 tweets
18 Dec 20
Two brothers teamed up with Wall Street to create the next great major US professional sports league.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some history...

Despite lacrosse being North America's oldest team sport—played by Native Americans throughout the 1400s—the US never developed a legitimate professional league.

That changed in 1999 when Jake Steinfeld, Dave Morrow & Tim Robertson founded the MLL.
2) Founded in 1999, Major League Lacrosse became the 1st outdoor professional lacrosse league.

The only problem?

Despite a decade straight of rising attendance—occasionally drawing 10,000+ fans—players weren't making any money.

The average MLL player made ~$10,000 annually.
Read 16 tweets
17 Dec 20
Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a $228 million dollar extension with the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday — the richest contract in NBA history.

The craziest part?

It was a bargain.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some history...

Giannis Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece, shortly after his parents immigrated from Nigeria in search of a better life.

But as immigrants situated in a small town with a floundering economy, Giannis and his brothers had a rough childhood.
2) As a child, with his parents unable to find consistent work due to their immigration status, Giannis had to help provide for the family.


Giannis & his brothers spent hours each day selling watches & CDs in the streets of Athens.

"I was good at it. I didn't give up.”
Read 17 tweets

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