National Basketball Association (NBA) star, Lebron James, decided to show up for his club’s game on Wednesday wearing the new home kit of Premier League club Liverpool.
Though his club, Los Angeles Lakers loss the basketball game to Oklahoma City Thunder 105-86, fans of the Premier League club could not stop talking about the feeling of seeing one of the greatest basketball players of all time wearing the club’s new kit.
The official Instagram handle of Liverpool football club helped to show the world how much the basketball icon loves the reigning Premier League champions by sharing Lebron James’ picture wearing the club’s new kit.
Los Angeles Lakers also took to their official Twitter handle to share the same picture before the club’s Wednesday night game with a caption: “Feeling Premier”.
Feeling Premier pic.twitter.com/fGqHz1IMs5— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 5, 2020
Who is Lebron James?
LeBron Raymone James Sr. is a 35-year-old American professional basketball player who currently plays for Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The basketball icon is often compared with Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, in terms of skills, achievements, and influence. The argument has always been that Lebron James is the greatest basketball player of all time ahead of the retired basketball legend. An argument that has become an endless one over the years.
The 35-year-old Basketball star who has played for the three biggest clubs in NBA – Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and now Los Angeles Lakers has a huge history like Liverpool football club. From his days with Miami Heat, 2010-2014, to his return to Cleveland Cavaliers, 2014-2018, Lebron James has played in eight successive NBA finals from 2011 to 2018.
So far in his 17 years basketball career, King James as he is fondly called, has won three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, three Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. He owns the all-time record for playoff points, third in all-time points, and eighth in all-time assists.
More so, the basketball star was selected to the All-NBA First Team a record twelve times, made the All-Defensive First Team five times, and has played in sixteen All-Star Games, in which he was selected All-Star MVP three times.
Lebron James’ love for Liverpool football club
Though Lebron James is widely known for his prowess in basketball, he has never hidden how much he loves Liverpool football club. He has created time from his busy schedule as a basketball star and a businessman to visit Liverpool’s home ground Anfield.
He has also used his social media platform especially Twitter where he has over 46.8 million followers to display his love for the Premier League club. For instance, when Liverpool football club won the UEFA Champions League in 2019, the basketball superstar took to his Twitter account to congratulate the club.
He also took to Twitter to celebrate Liverpool when they were confirmed champions of the Premier League in June 2020. He didn’t stop there, he devoted a considerable amount of his time to retweet tweets from Liverpool official handle about the victory.
It is however worthy of note that unlike other regular Liverpool fans who would turn on their television set to enjoy beautiful football, James doesn’t just watch the game for the fun of it, he watches it for the business aspect of it.
Lebron James’ Investment in Liverpool
As earlier stated, Lebron James is not just a regular fan of the club, he has a huge stake in the club which means that whenever the club is doing well or doing badly, it affects him financially.
The basketball player found himself in the business aspect of the club in 2011 when he struck a partnership deal with Fenway Sports Group (FSG) which was founded by John Henry and Tom Werner.
As at the point of landing the deal, FSG has just been named the owner of Liverpool football club. The company bought the club from the club’s former owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, and FSG became the club’s major marketing agency.
Due to the partnership deal, Lebron James signed with FSG, the basketball star automatically got a 2 percent minority stake in the club which was initially worth about $6.5 million.
The growth of James’ investment in Liverpool
Between 2017 to 2020, the club has played in one UEFA Europa League final, two UEFA Champions League final, finished 2nd in the Premier League once, won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and now the Premier League once. All these achievements did not just put a smile on the faces of the fans, they went a long way to improve the value of Liverpool and subsequently improve James’s 2% stake in the club.
For instance, ESPN reported that James’ $6.5 million investment in Liverpool has grown to $32 million in 2018. This means that the Basketball star has made $25.5 million within the first 7 years of investing in the Premier League club.
More so, in May 2019, Forbes published that Liverpool’s value has tremendously grown from $1.9 billion in 2018 to $2.13 billion in 2019 which means that as of May 2019, Lebron James’ stake in the club is about $43.6 million.
Though the coronavirus pandemic affected the earnings of football clubs in 2020, the value of James’ stake is expected to have improved further, thanks to the Premier League title Liverpool won in the just concluded 2019-2020 season.