Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been a pioneer in the NBA and all of sports in general. He has been at the forefront of player empowerment when it comes to athletes playing on whatever teams they want, but also in regards to them being vocal about political issues.
However, James has also shown sports stars that they don’t need to follow the typical sports business model in terms of signing with an agent and working with people they don’t necessarily want to work with in their business endeavors.
In fact, James has his longtime friends working with him, and they have helped him become one of the most successful stars on the planet.
LeBron James dumped his agent for his friends Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, and Randy Mims
When LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003, Aaron Goodwin was initially his agent. However, he later signed with Leon Rose in 2005, who joined Creative Artists Agency (CAA) a couple of years later. Once he ended things with Goodwin, James also launched his marketing company, LRMR, with his friends Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, and Randy Mims.
Paul worked for CAA from 2008 to 2012 before eventually leaving and launching his own player agency, Klutch Sports. James then parted ways with Rose and hired Paul as his agent at that same time. Paul now also represents the likes of Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, and Ben Simmons.
In addition to Paul, Carter manages many of James’ business endeavors and is the CEO of multiple companies they run, per The Undefeated, while Mims is James’ chief of staff.
Dumping Goodwin and then Rose for his friends certainly came with its fair share of criticism, so James recently gave some insight into his risky move.
LeBron James discussed his risky move
LeBron James recently appeared on the SmartLess podcast with actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, and they asked the Lakers star about his decision to essentially go to battle with his friends.
“After my rookie year in the NBA, I realized at 19 years old that the representation that I was under at that time wasn’t best suited for me. And it wasn’t going to allow me to grow, not only as a basketball player, but I wanted to be a businessman as well,” James said on the July 12 episode.
He continued: “It was something that was unprecedented and shunned upon in the NBA because everyone always expects for you to have an agent, an NBA agent. But when I parted ways with my NBA agent and agency and started my company, LRMR, with Maverick, Rich, and Randy, people were like, ‘They’re uneducated. They don’t know anything about the sports world; they don’t know anything about business. This is gonna be a complete disaster.’”
However, as James has shown throughout much of his career, he didn’t care what other people thought.
“I didn’t give a damn about what they were talking about because I feel like, who are the people to trust more than the people that I know, and we can all learn together,” he added.
James’ decision to launch LRMR and then to have Paul represent him was unprecedented, but it has paid off in the long run.
The Los Angeles Lakers star has become very wealthy
Sure, having Rich Paul as his agent has helped LeBron James make some significant cash on the court, as he made an estimated $39.2 million with the Lakers in 2020-21, per Spotrac. The King has also earned over $20 million every season since 2014-15.
However, James’ friends have also helped him become extremely successful off the court.
According to Forbes, James makes an estimated $65 million per year in endorsements and business endeavors, as he also has multiple companies, including his production and entertainment business, SpringHill Co. James’ star role in the new Space Jam movie probably pays a pretty penny as well.
LBJ’s friends have ultimately helped The King rack up an estimated $500 million net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Many critics thought James, Carter, Paul, and Mims had no chance at becoming successful together, but their work has ultimately paid off big time. The King and his men have evolved into a business powerhouse.