May 30, 2010, 6:05 PM EDT
Virtually every player in the NBA seems to have a posse, his boys, his friends. They are the guys hanging around the player at clubs, the guys who do his driving and run his errands and are supposed to take care of life’s little annoyances. Sometimes, they even get real responsibility.
But no inner circle has influence like LeBron James circle.
Maverick Carter is his defacto manager and head of marketing. Then there is Randy Mims and Rich Paul. Along with LeBron they are the Four Horseman. Long time friends and confidants that LeBron James trusts like few others.
And those guys will have LeBron’s ear as he decides whether to stay in Cleveland or to move on. A great piece in Sunday’s New York Post by Marc Berman shines a light on the guys that usually are happy to be in LeBron’s shadow.
They are his Akron childhood buddies, and they make up a most untraditional business inner circle, though Paul, 30, has branched off with O.J. Mayo.
Critics wonder if Team LeBron is too unconventional — if they are savvy enough to be the major players whose voices will resonate in James’ ear about the merits of New York, Newark, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Cleveland in the coming weeks.
James is a wannabe billionaire athlete whose chief business decision-maker, Carter, is a 28-year-old childhood friend from Akron who spent two years at two different colleges before dropping out.
Buzz Bissinger, who wrote “Shooting Stars” with LeBron about his high school years, notes that LeBron needs the security and trust these friends give him. He had no father to speak of growing up and a mother who almost gave him away at age 10. Finding security matters to LeBron. These guys provide that.
Which is different than saying he gets only the best advice from them. There are doubts his current marketing and agent teams have done for him what his first agent — Aaron Goodwin — was able to do. The agent that was dumped in favor of friends. What kind of advice LeBron gets from them on his big free agent moves is impossible to predict.
There are other guys in the key mix too, although how much influence William Wesley and Jay-Z really have is hard to decipher. LeBron’s team is quiet in a way that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have not.
What LeBron needs to do is find a quiet place and listen to himself. Figure out what he really wants. Tune out everybody else’s advice. Which is a whole lot easier said than done.
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