June 26, 2020

Basketball is paused, for now. But its biggest star is building a media empire.

LeBron James’ new media company is yet another example of how the NBA star has converted his fame into business capital.

LeBron James is setting his sights on a different kind of title.

Basketball’s biggest star raised $100m for a new media company that aims to uplift Black creators.

The venture is a major move for James’ growing media empire. It highlights the emergence of a 21st century archetype — the modern athlete who converts megawatt star power into business capital.

The King is diversifying his kingdom

Named SpringHill Co. after the apartment complex James grew up in, the company consolidates James’ media pursuits under one name. It will finance and produce projects by Black artists with diverse points of view.

SpringHill builds on James’ blueprint for the entrepreneurial athlete — already, he’s headlined talk shows on financial literacy and blockbuster movies, and opened a school for marginalized students.

SpringHill’s board is made up of some of the sports world’s heaviest hitters, including Serena Williams and Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. Not to mention business bigwigs like asset manager Marc Rowan and Guggenheim Partners chief investment partner Scott Minerd.

The new company is powered by a diverse staff – 64% of employees are people of color and 40% are women.

Dunking on the dumb jock dig

James isn’t the only athlete to play ball off the court.

Last year, Williams unveiled an investment company whose startups had an accumulated market cap of $12B.

David and Victoria Beckham control a holding company for their fashion, ecommerce, and media businesses.

And James’ fellow basketball stars Kevin Durant and Steph Curry have started media companies, too, while the late Kobe Bryant had a VC fund.

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