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Lebron James makes a smart business play: agency building a brand and a neighborhood one goal at a time.

AT AGE 21, CLEVELAND CAVALIER LEBRON JAMES has done the impossible. He's lived up to the King James hype on and off the court. Now James wants to prove himself in the boardroom as a founder of a newly formed sports marketing agency, LRMR Innovative Marketing and Branding. Formed with James' high school friends, the company's name derives from the first letters in the four associates' first names: LeBron James; Randy Mims, 30; St. Vincent-St. Mary High School teammate Maverick Carter, 24; and Richard Paul, 27.

LRMR has set expansive goals. One is to turn James into a global icon by Aug. 8, 2008, the same day the U.S. Olympic team arrives in Beijing for the Summer Games. Another is to "change the sports marketing prism through leveraging of sports, celebrity, and corporate infusion partnerships," says James.

James has successfully renegotiated a three-year, $60 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Meanwhile, Carter has been busy building relationships with powerful brands, including Microsoft and Boost Mobile.

Aside from his business, James is a socially conscious investor concerned with the well-being of the community. LRMR is among the investors in a $4.7 million 18-unit development project in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland. The project features townhouses expected to sell for $265,000 to $325,000.

James adds, "Global iconic status on the court, in the boardroom, and in the community is the goal," and we can all watch LRMR rise to the occasion.
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Title Annotation:SPORTSBIZ
Author:Williams, Latesha
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:243
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