LeBron James is the NBA's top-endorsement earner, raking in $42 million a year from the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike, McDonald's, and others, and his 18.7 million followers on Twitter make him as influential of a pop-culture icon as anyone.
So, what's next for King James? To keep building his Hollywood media empire, as detailed during a recent extensive Hollywood Reporter feature.
James's Spring Hill Productions — named for the housing complex LeBron and his mother moved into when he was a kid, keeps expanding its portfolio. They already have the Disney XD series Becoming, which details star athletes' upbringings and childhood before any stardom, and the Starz drama/comedy Survivor's Remorse.
In addition, there's James's Uninterrupted reality show on Turner's Bleacher Report and Spring Hill even has a trivia game-show pilot in the works for NBC. The company is even working with CNBC to deliver a show in which James and business partner Maverick Carter help struggling businesses. The Hollywood Reporter also adds that they could have a "bucket list" show on the Esquire Network.
"We brainstorm all kinds of outside-the-box ideas," James told the Hollywood Reporter. "You can't cheat the audience, you can't cheat your fans, they know if it's authentic. We'll see what happens. Maybe we'll have a little cooking show. No, I don't [cook]. So that ain't about me. There it is right there: cooking show!"
If all that wasn't enough, James also has a role as himself in the upcoming summer flick, Trainwreck, produced by Judd Apatow and starring Amy Schumer. The trailer was released Wednesday.
"We tested the movie, and he gets laughter as big as anyone," Apatow told the Hollywood Reporter of James. "The only fear you ever have with people of his stature is whether or not they're game to have fun and take chances. They'll say: 'I don't want to say that. That will sound weird. That's not good for my reputation.' LeBron is a very strong actor, and he has a fantastic sense of humor. We do a lot of improvisation, and he was really good at it. As a result, it's a really fun, wild, slightly strange performance that really scores."
But King James seems to be scoring on everything he touches — both on and off the court.
"They're smart as all hell, and they have a feel for popular culture," added Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Interscope Records and Beats Electronics, which James earned $30 million for after Beats was sold to Apple. "LeBron's got a business head about him. He doesn't breathe his own exhaust, which is very important."
Having turned 30 this past December, James hopes to have several more years of playing prime NBA basketball...but it's also good to have plans off the court too. Whatever avenue it is, James doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon.
"I've been put in this position for a reason," James said. "The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities, and I'm going to take full advantage of it while I can."
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(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)