Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's too bad LeBron signed that contract extension

Cause playing in Cleveland is really hurting LeBron's endorsement opportunities:

SEATTLE (AP) -- The ever-expanding LeBron James empire is entering a new realm.

Microsoft Corp. is using the NBA star to promote next week's consumer release of its new Windows Vista operating system. James will make what a Microsoft spokesman described Tuesday as cameo appearances on national television commercials that will begin airing Jan. 30.

James is the first NBA player that the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has used to promote its products, Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said. And Vista may not be the last Microsoft project for the Cleveland Cavaliers guard.

"We're happy with him. And I know his people are happy with it, too," Gellos said. "We're talking about what future projects we might do with him."

James and Microsoft have worked together in the past, during the player's summer bicycle event for charity in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Microsoft declined to reveal how much it paid James, who turned 22 last month. When he was still a senior at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, James signed a seven-year, $90 million endorsement contract with Nike.

James already has endorsement contracts worth an estimated $150 million. He and three friends, Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Rich Paul, have formed LRMR Development LLC to run James' personal and business management. James is LRMR's CEO.

James signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension with the Cavaliers last July. Last year, in an interview with The Associated Press, he said one of his primary goals was to "be the richest man in the world."

He also wants to be a world "ambassador."

"I've moved in my life and my first day in a new school I was always able to make new friends," James said last year. "That's difficult for some people. So someday being an ambassador to the world and not just the NBA would be great. I want to be the face of a lot of things."

Honestly, not being a Knick is sure killing his pocket book.

Look, I've said this before but I'll say it again, playing in big markets help marginal players. I firmly believe that Greg Anthony is on ESPN because he played most of his career on the Knicks and I'm not sure how soon Tiki Barber would be on the radio had he gotten his yards while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. If not for LA, Luke Walton wouldn't have appeared on The Young and the Restless and Rick Fox wouldn't have his own IMDB page.

And I'm pretty sure that if he didn't play for the Yankees, no one would be making arguments for Scott Brosius to be in the Hall of Fame.

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