Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 10:15 am  |  12 responses

Warren Buffett Praises LeBron James’ Business Sense

The odd couple: LeBron James counts Warren Buffett as one of his buddies. And according to the billionaire investor, LBJ is a top-notch businessman. From the Miami Herald: “As focused as James has been on his goal of winning NBA championships, he’s just as driven off the court about building a business empire and breaking the billion-dollar mark, an accomplishment golfer Tiger Woods was the first athlete to achieve. ‘You have to get to know him,’ Buffett said. ‘LeBron’s not initially really talkative. He’s savvy. He’s smart about financial matters. It’s amazing to me the maturity he exhibits. I know that if I had been famous at that age, I would have had trouble keeping my feet on the ground.’ Those are pretty big compliments coming from Buffett, the world’s leading investment guru, who at 82 could easily be the grandfather of James, 27. Yet the age difference and James’ lack of a college degree haven’t been a barrier to a friendship that includes Buffett providing occasional business advice. Buffett isn’t the only high-profile executive James counts as a friend. You’ll find him in the company of people as diverse as Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, Hollywood producer Tom Werner, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and music mogul Jay-Z. It was actually James who introduced Heat owner and Carnival Chief Executive Micky Arison to Ballmer. At an investment conference a few years ago attended by chief executives from some of the largest Fortune 500 companies, Buffett says his friend James could more than hold his own. ‘People were more interested in meeting him than in meeting me,’ Buffett said. ‘He doesn’t need me to introduce him, that’s for sure.’ [...] James was the fourth-highest paid athlete in the world last year with an annual income of $53 million — a number that would have been 20 percent higher without the salary cut for the strike-shortened season, according to Forbes. The majority of Lebron’s earnings — $40 million — comes from endorsements and business contracts with a high-profile roster that includes Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.”

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  • T-Money

    lebron is really separating himself from his peers (i.e. athletes under 30) on and off the court. his clout is immense right now, he’s reaching mj-level status as far as being a magnet for people.

  • roscoe

    when bron bron dominates a dunk contest and has the world saying & wearing t-shirts that say “I want to be like bron bron” I will buy your comment but right now that ain’t what’s going on.

    Bron has much to prove b4 you can realistically put him at a mj-level, imo.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Lebron’s swimming in paper right now. Props

  • shockexchange

    If I am competing against LeBron, I would love this article. It takes his focus away from winning chips and places it on supeficial things away from the court like “being a billionaire,” or making new friends. While Warren Buffett, JayZ, Bill Gates, et. al. to ply him with compliments, the competition is working overtime to devise ways to dethrone him.

  • ash

    Then when you get on court, he would just dominate you. So far competition hasn’t done so well. Who said you can’t be a great player and be a great business man at the same time.

  • shockexchange

    Actually, you can be a great businesman and a great athlete at the same time. Jordan did it. But as long as you are winning, the money is going to come anyway.

  • http://www.sneakertheater.com/ Sneaker Theater

    I wonder if Lebron gets a percentage from Nike from products bearing his name? An endorsement is really just a pay check, you know what you are getting every year based on the terms of the contract. But if you receive a base payment and percentage of sales, I think that would be more of a business move.

  • Datkid

    Fam is just….different.

  • Dagger

    Because any interests outside of your career will inevitably hinder your professional performance, right? Ridiculous.

  • coggie13

    Don’t think roscoe understands your comment. I would agree completely.

  • Ryan

    What’s interesting to me is that since he already has money and fame opportunities to make more money naturally flow to him. He has to make smart decisions but he doesn’t need to find the opportunities anymore. The rest of us need to be out looking and creating opportunities and making smart decisions.

    it’d be interesting to hear him lecture on his business philosophy.

  • Decades

    Lebron is benefitting from a market that mj created. The market is that much more commoditised and global now thanks to Jordan , that now bron can make what mj made in his best years, this early. He isn’t as charismatic, as popular, hyped , exciting or good, but he ll be more successful than any of them. Imagine guys like magic and bird who made maybe 20 mil from ca rể salaries. Can’t think of many other infuses that have had this much of a a salary boom like the nba. Impressive business. All thanks to mj and stern.