In Part 1 of a 2-part episode, the two most recognizable players in the NBA and their business partners talk about the moment they realized their basketball careers were a business, how they found their current paths to building off-court businesses, and the lessons they learned along the way.
LeBron James, 3-time NBA Finals MVP and Co-Founder of LRMR Ventures, Uninterrupted, and SpringHill Entertainment, Kevin Durant, 2-time NBA Finals MVP and Co-Founder of Thirty Five Ventures, Maverick Carter, co-founder and CEO of SpringHill Entertainment, and Rich Kleiman, co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures, come together to talk about how the NBA’s most prominent athletes have built business empires while still actively in their athletic primes. James and Durant talk about their personal journeys in the league, as well as their relationship with each other over the years. KD discusses how getting insight into how James built a team of trusted friends and colleagues around him was influential to his own decisions as a younger athlete, plus the value of trust, camaraderie, and entrepreneurial risk-taking in any business relationship. Both athletes talk about the moment they realized that their skill as a basketball player automatically made them into a business for others, from James’s experiences at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to Durant’s one year at the University of Texas. The episode also dives into the blueprint that Michael Jordan provided for so many athletes, including his portfolio of iconic commercials, the rise of Brand Jordan, media projects like Space Jam, and eventual NBA team ownership. The group also discusses how high the bar has been set for athlete business in the modern era, and explores how each player pulls inspiration from many sources as they develop their own initiatives.
Lastly, Rich Kleiman and Maverick Carter break down how they choose which opportunities to bring to their business partners, how they work together, why they pursue certain investments and the criteria they use to make business decisions.
Watch this episode, along with all of Seasons 1 and 2 of The Boardroom, streaming now on ESPN+.