LeBron James owns three NBA championship trophies, four MVP awards, and 15 All-Star selections. Beyond basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has multi-million dollar endorsement deals and ownership stakes in both the Blaze Pizza chain and two media companies.
After his playing days are over, James wants to merge his basketball and business portfolios by purchasing an NBA franchise — a daunting proposition even for one of the game’s great players, who will have earned a record $390 million in salary at the end of his current Lakers contract.
Of course, that wouldn’t be James’s first experience as a sports team owner. In 2011, James obtained a minority stake in Liverpool FC, a marquee soccer franchise in the English Premier League. That deal was completed a few months after Fenway Sports Group, led by Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner, bought the club.
Both James and FSG have profited handsomely from their investment. Sam Kennedy, who serves as president and CEO for the Red Sox and FSG, believes James will eventually pursue multiple similar investments.
“I see LeBron owning multiple teams someday,” Kennedy said, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “Not just NBA, but perhaps international soccer and maybe in esports. One thing we’ve learned working with LeBron is that he sees the big picture.
“He has a track record of making smart decisions and looking for opportunities. He’s also been very successfully financially, and that’s what you have to do to become a sports team owner.”
If James does join the NBA owner ranks, he’ll be following in the footsteps of the man he already joined in the G.O.A.T. conversation: Michael Jordan. Windhorst notes that Jordan, the billionaire owner of the Charlotte Hornets, put up just $30 million in cash when he purchased the then-Bobcats in 2011. The franchise is now worth an estimated $1.2 billion.
“Ten years from now, I think—I don’t think, I know—LeBron will be owning a basketball team,” James’s business partner Maverick Carter told Variety. “Maybe even a football team. Because he does like football and he’s looked at football ownership, so he’ll be owning a basketball team and running it.”