How a 16-year-old LeBron James positioned himself for a monster shoe deal

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LeBron James’ business savvy has received praise from Warren Buffet.

Why?

Things like this.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

In 2001, at age 16, James arrived at the famed Adidas-sponsored ABCD basketball camp run by Sonny Vaccaro. He was wearing Nikes. Later that summer, he showed up at Nike’s All-American camp in a pair of Adidas. Pass on the quick nickel for the slow dime is an oft-repeated refrain in James’ career. Take your time. Increase your options. Feel good about your choice. Cash in.

By not committing to either Nike or Adidas in the months leading up to his entrance to the 2003 NBA draft, James had given Reebok time to get in on the bidding for his services as well, and in the end he and his representatives negotiated a record six-year, $90 million endorsement deal with Nike before he had ever played a game in the NBA.

“The media came to me and asked if I was offended by what [LeBron] did [at camp],” Vaccaro remembers. “Offended? No. I applauded him. … because he understands who he is.”

That’s just great.

Michael Jordan beat him to becoming the first NBA player-turned-billionaire, but LeBron has a chance to become the second. He has done an excellent job managing his brand

Now, if only LeBron could handle everything so smoothly.