Cover image for Lebron, Inc. : the making of a billion-dollar athlete
Lebron, Inc. : the making of a billion-dollar athlete
First edition.
Physical Description:
viii, 246 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Publisher Annotaiton: From the New York Times bestselling author of Return of the King comes the story of LeBron James's incredible transformation from basketball star to sports and business mogul. 288pp., 75K


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 796.323 WIN 1 1

On Order



From the New York Times bestselling author of Return of the King comes the story of LeBron James's incredible transformation from basketball star to sports and business mogul.
With eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, LeBron James has proven himself one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan before him, LeBron has also become a global brand and businessman who has altered the way professional athletes think about their value, maximize their leverage, and use their voice.

LEBRON, INC tells the story of James's journey down the path to becoming a billionaire sports icon -- his successes, his failures, and the lessons both have taught him along the way. With plenty of newsmaking tidbits about his rollercoaster last season in Cleveland and high-profile move to the Lakers, LEBRON, INC. shows how James has changed the way most elite athletes manage their careers, and how he launched a movement among his peers that may last decades beyond his playing days.

Author Notes

Brian Windhorst has covered the NBA for ESPN since 2010. He began covering LeBron James in 1999 and was the daily beat writer on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland Plain Dealer from 2003 to 2010. He is also the co-author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller Return of the King , The Franchise , and The Making of an MVP .

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In workmanlike prose, sportswriter Windhorst (Return of the King) focuses on NBA superstar Lebron James's life as a highly successful businessman. James earned $765 million in salary and endorsements during his 19 years in the NBA, and, as Windhorst writes, "LeBron's awareness of how he can use his celebrity and popularity to gain leverage in business transactions has fed his bottom line and enabled him to funnel money to charities he cares about without having to reach into his own pocket." Windhorst chronicles how James evolved from being a high school, first-round draft pick who lived in poverty, to a superstar who had deals with Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Microsoft, Nike, and others. Windhorst also notes James's less-than-stellar business gambles, such as the ill-fated Decision TV show in 2010, where Lebron announced that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. James's impoverished upbringing, Windhorst points out, fueled his interest in philanthropic projects, which include building a school for disadvantaged students in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Whether James "reaches his goal of team ownership or he finds a new pursuit is yet to be seen," Windhorst writes, but "his horizons are still expanding." This is a shoo-in for business-minded sports fans. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

LeBron James the businessman.ESPN NBA reporter Windhorst (co-author: Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History, 2017, etc.) probably knows more about James than any other sportswriter, especially after covering him as the Cavaliers beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland Plain Dealer before moving to ESPN. In his latest book on the King, the author chronicles his business deals both on and off the court, most of which have been successful, largely due to one main quality that Windhorst highlights throughout: his awareness of everything going on around him, which has not only guided his legendary basketball career, but also "has been vital for the expansion of his business empire." The author straightforwardly lays out James' various ventures, beginning with the orchestration of a fierce bidding war for his first shoe contract. Though Reebok made a significant offer, James ultimately went with Nike, signing a seven-year contract that, with the $10 million signing bonus, came to $87 millionbefore he was even drafted in the NBA. From there, James would go on to astronomical financial and athletic success in the NBA as well as in the film, restaurant, real estate, and other industries. Windhorst dutifully chronicles all of his deals, often comparing them to other business ventures by megastar athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant. Though James is not yet a billionaire, the author notes that "he may be getting close," and while he has made a couple poor business choices, he's known for being relatively frugal (at least for a near billionaire), his "business is still very much unfolding." For LeBron devotees and readers interested in the mechanics of off-the-court business dealings, this is a good choice, but the prose is merely serviceable and the narrative flow, workmanlike.A mildly intriguing look at a global icon that would have been more effective as a long-form magazine article or continuing series. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

NBA superstar LeBron James has become the model for the contemporary athlete as tycoon. Windhorst, an ESPN reporter since 2010, has been following LeBron since 1999, when both men were coming up in Cleveland, and he's written three previous books on the star, who jumped from high school directly to the NBA. So Windhorst knows himself some LeBron, as he demonstrates here in detailing how a basketball player transformed himself into a shrewd entrepreneur worth well over a billion dollars. Certainly, LeBron's multimillion-dollar basketball contracts and shoe endorsements are the foundation for his wealth, but, with the help of childhood friend Maverick Carter, LeBron has put his money to work with everything from a pizza franchise to a headphone company and a luxury European watch company (expanding his global marketing appeal). Now he's even a successful Hollywood producer. He's been controversial, at times, mainly in leaving hometown Cleveland for Miami, and then, after returning, leaving again for L.A. Despite all that, there's never been a hint of scandal surrounding James, and his community and charitable work is legendary. A fascinating look inside the prototype for the new corporate athlete.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2019 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In his fourth publication on the NBA superstar, sportswriter Windhorst (Return of the King) focuses on the aspirations LeBron James continues to craft off the court. Beginning with the early recognition of his star power, James placed a high value on authenticity in his business decisions, being unafraid to turn down unsuitable offers and creating a management group with hometown friends in order to have more control over his career and reputation. Although Windhorst's years of reporting on James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may suggest bias, the author presents an honest depiction of the player's successes and follies, including his years with the Miami Heat and recent move to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Although many books and articles have been written about James becoming a basketball legend, Windhorst's spotlight on business decisions sets this title apart. His 20 years of sports writing shines through the smooth narrative and insightful commentary, leaving readers with a suggestion of the heights James still aims to climb as his retirement from the NBA gets closer to reality VERDICT Highly recommended for NBA fans and readers curious about the happenings behind the scenes.-Katie McGaha, L.A.P.L., Agoura Hills © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Power of Saying Nop. 1
Chapter 2 The Bag Manp. 11
Chapter 3 The Deal of a Lifetimep. 23
Chapter 4 Four Horsesp. 57
Chapter 5 Failing Upp. 79
Chapter 6 Cameramanp. 93
Chapter 7 The Dealmakerp. 109
Chapter 8 Summer Camp for Billionairesp. 129
Chapter 9 Taking My Talentsp. 141
Chapter 10 Mogulp. 169
Chapter 11 I Promisep. 193
Chapter 12 L.A.p. 211
Epiloguep. 225
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Indexp. 235
About the Authorp. 246