The NBA’s biggest superstar, forward LeBron James, is one of the most dominant players—and personal brands—in the game’s history. A star since his high school days in Ohio, he was one of the most-watched players in the country and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he had even graduated.
Selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Cavaliers, he was named Rookie of the Year for that 2003-04 season. He’s led the team to the playoffs the last three years, including to the NBA Finals in 2007. During those playoffs, James turned in one of the most transcendent postseason performances in league history. Against the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James scored 48 points— including the Cavs’ final 25 of the game—to lead his team to a double-overtime victory.
Off the court, James is developing a new business model for athletes. Aside from deals with Nike and Coca-Cola that make him one of the highest-paid endorsers in sports, he has started his own company, LRMR Marketing, which represents other athletes and consults with outside companies.