First of all, his name is Maverick. Clearly, his parents thought highly of him from the earliest days. So it may have been fate that this business maverick landed at the same high school as a budding superstar. That superstar is LeBron James and with Maverick Carter as his business partner, the two of them have ascended to greater heights than any schoolboy could have dreamed of.
Carter, James’ former high school team captain at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Ohio is now the lead of a multi-million inching to billion-dollar brand. He runs LRMR, the NBA All-Star’s marketing firm.
That firm is now behind the Starz show Survivor’s Remorse, the stake James holds in Liverpool F.C., a U.K. soccer team and the continued projects and branding of the NBA’s most recognizable active player.
Carter has not been without his detractors. He’s a college dropout who caught up by finding mentors at Nike – where he started his career training working with James as a Nike intern – and reading every book about management and business he has the time for.
James fired a veteran agent to have Carter lead a braintrust composed of his high school teammates. “The Decision,” James hour-long televised announcement that he was leaving Cleveland in 2008 to head to Miami, was Carter’s idea and was widely critiqued.
But Carter, and James, rebounded from that and continued on, building the LeBron James brand, that now includes TV and film projects, a scholarship program, a website/media platform as well as commercials, like a lucrative Sprite deal, as well as the largest deal ever in Nike’s history, believed to be worth a billion dollars.
“Some people are just more prepared to take risks than others,” Carter told GQ Magazine last year. “I grew up a gambler. That’s my name: Maverick. That’s what it comes from. My grandmother ran an after-hours joint, and they played cards and shot craps. But you have to know: What’s my baseline? What’s the worst that could happen to me? And that’s what life is all about. Every decision you make, you’re simply evaluating risk versus reward.”
As James transitions into his after-NBA career, watch the projects he takes on and what works and know that Carter is behind a lot of them. That makes him one to watch for years to come.
PHOTO: LeBron James Instagram