Posts Tagged ‘Maverick Carter’

Morning Shootaround — Aug. 24

VIDEO: Stephen Curry’s profile continues to rise, on and off the court, in the wake of his MVP and championship season


Curry to star in Under Armour campaign | LeBron’s busy summer continues with Survivor’s Remorse | Wesley Matthews says he’ll be ready for opening night

No. 1: Curry joins Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth in Under Armour’s first major brand campaign — Champions are the focus of Under Armour’s first major brand campaign. Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth and Golden State Warriors star and KIA MVP Stephen Curry will all be featured in the campaign, that will debut this week. It’s the latest superstar turn for Curry, whose magical year that began with a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup in Spain and continued with his first MVP award and the Warriors’ first title in 40 years in June. ESPN’s sports business guru Darren Rovell has the details:

Tom Brady won another Super Bowl. Stephen Curry won an MVP and an NBA title. Jordan Spieth won the Masters and the U.S. Open. Misty Copeland became the first African-American to become a principal dancer at a major ballet company.

It has been a big year for Under Armour’s most high-profile spokespeople, and the company this week will start to roll out its first major brand campaign featuring all of them. It’s called “Rule Yourself,” and the idea summons Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice at something to be the best.

In the first spot, called “Anthem,” the premise is accomplished through speeding up those hours by showing thousands of replicas of Curry, Spieth and Copeland going through their repetitions.

“We sat around [founder and CEO] Kevin Plank’s table, and we talked about the momentum we’ve had this year, telling our brand story through the lens of the hottest athletes in the world, and the one thing that was constant, whether you are young or old, is that in order to be the best you have to train consistently on the field, court and gym and improve every day,” said Adrienne Lofton, the company’s senior vice president of brand marketing.

In the past year, the shots Curry takes before every game and his ball handling warm-up drill have received plenty of accolades. Less evident is what it took for Spieth to achieve his success, and, even more behind the scenes, what it took for Copeland — often 10 hours daily in a studio.

Brady’s spot, which takes on a similar theme, is still scheduled to make its debut in the coming weeks. Sources said his alleged role in “Deflategate” — and his four-game suspension, which is under appeal — never put him in jeopardy with Under Armour.

The spots were done in partnership with ad firm Droga5. The special effects were created by having five cameras focus on the athletes from different vantage points as they went through their motions. Computer-generated imagery was then used to give the effect of a thousand replicas.

Although direct sales from Brady, Curry, Spieth and Copeland are relatively small in the scheme of things, the momentum is palpable. Five years ago, Nike did 19 times the business Under Armour did. In 2015, that lead is expected to be cut to eight times. Footwear sales, most recently on the back of Curry’s first signature shoe, has grown by 40 percent for each of the past four quarters, while its total golf business has doubled in the past two years.


Could LeBron production deal with Warner Bros. lead to Space Jam II?

Call Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, Sylvester and Marvin the Martian and tell them to clear possible space on their cartoon calendars.

Coming on the heels of his successful movie debut in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, 30-year-old LeBron James could be laying down the tracks for a future as a leading man on the big screen and a new version of a fan favorite.

Warner Bros. Entertainment said Wednesday that it’s reached a deal with SpringHill Entertainment — the production company co-founded by the Cavaliers star and his longtime business partner, Maverick Carter — “spanning all areas of content creation” and that “will see James’ creative footprint touch all areas of” Warner Bros.’ endeavors, including television, film and digital content.

“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” said [Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin] Tsujihara. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere. We’re excited to welcome LeBron and Maverick to the Warner Bros. family and look forward to partnering on incredible projects that will connect with consumers across a variety of platforms.”

“Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion. In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to Uninterrupted and Survivor’s Remorse, it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy,” said LeBron James. “And I’ve always loved movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.” […]

Having already conquered most of the terrestrial basketball world, the big question out there is whether this arrangement with Warner Bros. could lead to James starring in a 21st century reboot of “Space Jam?” LeBron has previously said he would be interested.

Here was one possible hint of a hookup with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian and the rest of the gang:

Morning shootaround — July 22

VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played July 21


Carter says LeBron made own decision | Jefferson excited about Hornets’ roster | Report: Turner, Celtics reach deal | Report: Van Gundy reassures Smith of Detroit future

No. 1: Carter: LeBron wasn’t pushed to pick Cavs — When LeBron James‘ letter was posted on detailing why he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent, some skeptics emerged about why he made that choice. Was it made to make his various handlers and such happy? Was it done to make Clevelander’s happy and restore his legacy and standing in his home state? James’ longtime business partner, Maverick Carter, spoke on an podcast and explained that James’ decision was exactly that — his decision:

Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner, says he didn’t push James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, nor did anyone else in the NBA superstar’s inner circle.

“This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart,” Carter told’s Jason Whitlock on the Real Talk podcast. “We didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.”

James decided to return to the Cavaliers on July 11 after spending four years with the Miami Heat. He opted out of his contract with Miami and signed a two-year deal to return to Cleveland, where he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA.

“Listen,” Carter said, “LeBron’s a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn’t need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you’re not going to push him either way. We’ll help him think through things and help him see through things, but he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I’m not the one who has to show up and play games for any team.”

He also said that James and Dwyane Wade will be “friends for life” and that James told Wade before the Sports Illustrated article was released of his decision. Carter did not know exactly when James told Wade.

“Their friendship goes beyond basketball,” Carter said. “It’s bigger than basketball.”

He also said that he, as well as James, has nothing but good things to say about the Heat or their management.

“The Heat run a first-class organization,” Carter said. “They have one of the best organizations in all of sports. Just being around that organization, I think LeBron learned a ton about what it takes to be a championship organization and how it works.”

LeBron: The Team Behind King James

Editor’s note: As the NBA embarks this week on a new season, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James stands as the league’s most iconic figure. In Part One of a three-part series on James and his place in the league, we take a look at the people behind James, who have helped shape him into an international marketing force and a difference-maker for at-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

In Part Two (Monday), we’ll examine how his on-court game has changed since he burst onto the scene straight out of high school in 2003, and how his early failures shaped the player he is today. And in Part Three (Tuesday), we’ll weigh in on where James stands in the greatest-of-all-time argument.


VIDEO: The LeBron Series — Business of an MVPa

LeBron James has won two straight NBA titles with the Miami Heat. He is a four-time league MVP (and only the second to win it four times in five years), was the only player in the league to lead his team in scoring, rebounding and assists last year (he fell just one vote short of becoming the first ever to win the MVP with a unanimous vote) and is the youngest player to reach 20,000 points.

LeBron James

LeBron James (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE )

He is considered by many as the best player in the game today, and one of the greatest ever to play. And as dominant as he is on the basketball court, he’s just as successful off of it.

The NBA recently announced that, for the first time, LeBron has the NBA’s most popular jersey in worldwide sales. According to a recent report in Forbes, LeBron has the most popular sneaker in the NBA, “outselling his nearest rival’s signature sneakers 6-to-1.” (Nike recently debuted LeBron’s eleventh signature shoe, The LeBron 11.) His popularity extends into fields unrelated to sports. He’s currently producing a comedy series for the Starz Network, and he has hosted “Saturday Night Live.” James, an avid user of social media, has over 15 million Facebook  “likes” and over 10 million followers on Twitter.

LeBron’s popularity has translated into runaway success in the business world: James has partnership and endorsement deals with many brands, from Coca-Cola to McDonald’s to Audemars Piguet. Forbes recently ranked James as the fourth-highest earning athlete in the world (behind Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Kobe Bryant), while estimating James’ endorsement income around $42 million a year. If that’s accurate, that would make him the NBA’s endorsement leader.

As James recently told Rachel Nichols on CNN’s “Unguarded,” as they accompanied him on a Nike promotional trip to China …

“When I became a professional athlete I became a business as well, you know, so I couldn’t just worry about the game of basketball 24/7, without understanding the business side of it as well.”

VIDEO: LeBron in China

An NBA player supplementing his basketball income with endorsement dollars is nothing new. But doing it with the kind of global reach that James has demonstrated places him in rarified air. Longtime NBA executive Rick Welts, the current president and COO of the Golden State Warriors, points out that James seems to have taken the marketing template presented by a certain previous NBA superstar and expanded upon it.

“He’s obviously a great student because I think Michael Jordan was probably the first contemporary athlete that realized that he could create a brand around his own persona, surround himself with really smart business people who could guide him in that endeavor,” Welts says. “LeBron, if anything, has taken that to whatever the 2013-14 equivalent is of that, which is probably more sophisticated, more international in focus. He’s obviously a guy who listens to advice and has a good innate sense of where he wants to take his career. I think watching the evolution of the professional athlete, he represents to the contemporary athlete today what Michael Jordan represented to the contemporary athlete of his time.”

How has LeBron been able to transform himself into the NBA’s most marketable personality? Certainly, piling up titles and MVP awards and gold medals doesn’t hurt his popularity. But when it comes to his business dealings, James has surrounded himself with talented people whom he trusts. His inner-circle is a trio of men he grew up with in Akron, Ohio. And as James’ stature and skill-set have grown, the members of his team have grown along with him.

Maverick Carter (left), with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates

Maverick Carter (left), with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in 2008 (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Maverick Carter is the CEO of LRMR Marketing, the company LeBron launched in 2006. (LRMR’s name is a nod to the quartet’s first names: LeBron, Randy Mims, Maverick and Rich Paul.) Carter oversees all of LeBron’s business partnerships, and has spearheaded LeBron’s ascendance as a worldwide marketing force. Part of Carter’s role includes putting together deals such as the strategic partnership between LRMR and Fenway Sports Marketing, a transaction that gave James part-ownership in the legendary Liverpool Football Club.

Paul represents LeBron as his agent. Before opening his own agency, Klutch Sports, in 2012, Paul spent several years working at the mega-agency CAA, learning the ins and outs of the agency business. Since opening Klutch Sports, Paul has signed several clients alongside LeBron, including NBA players Eric Bledsoe (Phoenix), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Kevin Seraphin (Washington).

Mims is LeBron’s day-to-day manager, overseeing all of LeBron’s business relationships, meetings, commercial shoots and appearances. Of the LRMR group, Mims spends the most time with LeBron, and ensures that each day’s obligations are executed properly.

As James told Nichols, being able to build a successful organization off the court is made that much more meaningful precisely because he was able to do it with his longtime friends:

“I mean it’s the ultimate, you know. You grow up, throughout the struggles with your friends, and to be able to reap some of the benefits makes it that much more pleasant at the end of the day.”

Another person who plays an integral part in James’ off-court life is Michele Campbell, an Akron native who is the executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. For many years, James sponsored a Bikeathon in his hometown of Akron, a one-day event to unite the community and give bikes to kids. A few years ago, James decided he wanted to create something with a year-round impact. In 2011, they launched the “Wheels For Education” initiative.

“We call the Bikeathon kind of a one-and-done,” Campbell says. “Because it was a great event, but LeBron didn’t really know who the kids were after that. He was ready to make a difference and you can’t [do that] with a one-and-done. So this is a long-term commitment from him and foundation.”

Beginning in 2011, the LeBron James Family Foundation targeted 300 at-risk Akron third-graders. The kids go to a two-week summer camp and then are monitored closely throughout the school year. James regularly posts messages to them and sends them letters. If they miss a few days of school, they might get a phone message from him. Part of the deal is that the kids regularly recite a pledge called “I Promise,” vowing to be committed to doing their best. Aside from the constant interaction and encouragement from James, he shows the kids his support every time he takes the court: During games, he plays wearing an “I PROMISE” wristband.

It’s a massive promise: Each year, the program adds a new group of third graders while continuing to monitor the rising students. Since its start three years ago, there are now about 700 kids in the program. By the time the initial class graduates from high school in 2021, there will be over 3,500 kids at various levels.

“This is not just an athlete giving a check,” Campbell says. “LeBron is the force over this whole thing. He kicks off the program when they enter the program. He’s there, he welcomes them into the program. When they see the Foundation walk into the school or the after-school program, they see LeBron. It’s amazing how they feel his presence.”

His connection to community and the importance of family is obviously significant to James. This summer he married his longtime girlfriend, Savannah Brinson. Together they have two boys, LeBron Jr., and Bryce. LeBron’s mother, Gloria, is also still an integral part of James’ life.

[Even being family won’t save you from being pranked, as LeBron and his wife recently pulled an early Halloween trick on her father and posted it on Instagram.]

As the NBA embarks on the 2013-14 season, the Heat are favored to win another title and LeBron is poised to take home a third straight MVP. There seems to be no stopping James, on or off the court.

It is good to be the King.

“You draw strength from your own character and he has a great public persona now that is drawn from who he is as a person,” says Welts. “He’s not trying to be anybody else. Being able to kind of find yourself within that image is something he’s done as well as any player who’s come before and probably any player to go after. It creates a genuine personality around him, which I think attracts people and is part of the reason he’s been so successful.”

Cuban’s LeBron pitch falls short

DALLAS — LeBron James took the diplomatic approach when asked about how seriously he considered the Mavericks during free agency.

“I gave a lot of teams consideration throughout the whole process,” James said before Miami’s game at Dallas. “This is definitely one of the teams that I looked at being a veteran ballclub, they’ve got a lot of winners on their team, but I guess you guys know where I ended up at.”

Whatever consideration there was, Dallas didn’t make the cut of clubs allowed to pitch LeBron, despite the best efforts of Mark Cuban. The creative and aggressive owner still tried to get in the room, going through James’ advisor Maverick Carter, even though the Mavs didn’t have any cap room.

“When he was making his decision, what I told him and I told Maverick, was that no team had ever blown up a team of all their core, then added a couple of free agents and won,” Cuban said.

Cuban’s sell job consisted of adding LeBron to a squad that that already had Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. James apparently listened, but even having Cuban personally involved wasn’t enough.

“He’s a very sly guy,” James said. “You guys know Mark. He wants to win. He does what’s best for his team and he’s passionate about it.”

Where Would You Rather Be?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — After just three full days of training camp it’s become painfully clear to us here at the hideout that there’s not a whole lot of fun going on Heat camp.

It’s just one faux-controversy after another, maybe you’ve heard about this latest firestorm involving LeBron James and his camp and the injection of race into the fallout from “The Decision.”

This is a CNN transcript of the exchange between James, Maverick Carter and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that has caused the uproar:

O’BRIEN (on camera): Do you think there’s a role that race plays in this.

JAMES: I think so at times. It’s always, you know, a race factor.

CARTER: It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure. O’BRIEN (voice-over): LeBron James and Maverick Carter say what does bother them is that lost amid the controversy is the fact that “The Decision” TV program raised $3 million for Boys & Girls Club of America.

For the record, we think this is much ado about nothing in the grand scheme of things. Seriously, it’s not worth the fuss being made over it.

There is a place, though, where the true spirit of camp (and the team building that goes on during a grueling first week of conditioning and practice) is being upheld in Hall of Fame fashion.

They’re doing it up in Boston, thanks to world-class pranksters like Shaquille O’Neal and Nate Robinson:

There couldn’t be a greater discrepancy in the tone of two camps.

Maybe this drama will fuel the Heat to push even harder to reach the lofty expectations they’ve established for themselves (as well as the completely unreasonable expectations others have for them).

And maybe the Celtics are enjoying themselves a little too much, even though they rode a similar vibe all the way to the NBA Finals last season.

But I promise you, there’s only one of these camps I’d want to sit through in person. No disrespect whatsoever to the service men and women witnessing the goings on in Florida, but we’ll pass on the Heat drama.

That is until the games begin.

We’ll get our first chance to see the Heat (so what if it’s just the preseason) in some real action next week. We can’t wait!

Watch the Heat’s first preseason game, Tuesday at  7 p.m. on NBA TV.