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Knicks pitch to LeBron: You could make $1 billion playing here

Jul 2, 2010, 10:35 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for LeBron_solo.jpgFor months, marketing experts have been saying, “It doesn’t matter where LeBron James plays, he makes the same money anywhere, he is a brand unto himself.”

The focus of the New York Knicks’ pitch to LeBron yesterday (and a specially prepared report for the meeting): Hell yes it matters. Forbes got a hold of the PowerPoint that says, basically, you can only make $1 billion in New York. And you want to make $1 billion, don’t you? You are not going to make that in Miami and Cleveland, and probably not in Chicago. Why? Because we’re New York.

To come up with the numbers for the Knicks, Interbrand says it ran through 50,000 computer models of a potential LeBron career, using more than 200 variables like individual performance, fan demographics and championships. The report is light on the details of its methodology, but comes to this conclusion: LeBron has a 50% chance of earning at least $1 billion in New York. In Cleveland and Chicago the odds fall to 1%. The study put a 0% chance of LeBron making $1 billion playing for Miami.

Sound fishy to you? It does to CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell as well, as he tweeted:

Knicks tell LeBron he can earn $1B+ by going to NY. What it proves? Pay a firm (InterBrand) enough $, they’ll justify a #.

Key to the bogus InterBrand LeBron study? They ASSUME he’ll play for the Knicks for the next 13 years.

It may have sounded fishy to LeBron as well. The most connected reporter in Cleveland, Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer, tweeted this:

Here’s what I hear from yesterday: LeBron interested in Nets pitch but not so much NY. NY trying at moment to secure Amare’ to help cause

Here’s the thing — where LeBron can make the most money is shoe deals, particularly his international Nike deal in places like China. He gets a piece of the pie, but that only matters if you sell a lot of shoes. In China and Chinese culture, titles matter. That is why Kobe is crushing him in sales oversees (plus Kobe’s whole marketing plan in China, which includes his own China foundation that does charitable work in the country, spreading good will).

James becomes more marketable, sells more gear, makes more money when he wins it all. And where can he best do that… Don’t think the PowerPoint covers that.

  1. Omnius - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Hey LeBoring James don’t hold your breath waiting to win an NBA championship, Phil Jackson is returning to lead the World Champion Lakers to yet another Threepeat next year! LeBoring James, the King of Choke, is the most overhyped media miscreation ever. He would fit in perfectly in the Rotten Apple where they have a total loser team in the Snickerbockers. I loved Stephen Colbert’s segments this week trying out for the Snickerbockers, now that was funny. If the Snickerbockers are stupid enough to hire the King of Choke then they won’t be able to afford real championship ballplayers. I mean who wants to play with a ballhog like LeBoring James who’s more interested in padding his stats than in playing winning team basketball?

  2. steve - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I see Kobe has won 5 championships all by himself. None of his 11 teammates had anything to do with it. Stop filling your own ego and relize it takes 12 players on a team to win a championship and with the players Kobe has had over his career it is sad he has only won 5. If Lebron had the players Kobe has had Lebron and his team would of had at least 8 if not more championships. I say that because Lebron shares the ball with his team while Kobe would rather shoot 6 for 35 instead of being a team player and let other teammates take shots. Phil Jackson wrote a book on how stingy Kobe is with the ball, his own teammates yr in and yr out complain about him being a ball hog. Lebron will someday get a real team to play with and will win his share of championships because good players want to play with Lebron because he thinks team first unlike Kobe.

  3. HBOOGIE - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Taxes are too high in New York and orange and blue just wont do. Why do you think Lebron was wearing orange and blue uniforms during the season. Oh, just because he wanted to switch it up a little. No….cmon man….It was to test the market on that color scheme, which did horribly. Sorry. New York is all smoke and mirrors. What color is Tiger known for…..RED!!!!!!!!

  4. Bob - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    LeBron is holding all these teams hostage. What has he done to garner all this attention? The best player in the league(Kobe) goes about his business of winning champioships, like past champions (Michael) without all this hype. Michael played in this league for many years and you never heard any hype about his contract negotiations. LeBron disappeared in the playoffs. Knicks need to concentrate on keeping David Lee.

  5. Rob - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    y so jealous?

  6. Saleen5 - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Kobe”MVP” Bryant might b a ball hug and supposely is a man team..but i dont see n e body in the team nor the coach complaining about the ring they have on their finger nor the bonus they get…ha…so as of now and till then…the lakers are going to continue winning. Lebron is aslo a one man team and still cant win one…Y is he the KING or an MVP..Kobe might have 5 in his career..but Jordan only had 6 in his whats the difference..anyways if Lebron wants a taste of the Championship or the feeling of a ring he needs to go to the REAL TEAM..L.A. LAKERS..

  7. SEAN - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    The only chance LEBRON JAMES has of making a billion dollars is NEW JERSEY NETS,you ask why? I tell you (1)He going to make same amount of money with NIKE no matter where he lives.(2)Russian has wide with Especially Russia.(3)Jay-z will get him his own clothing line,related to sports with millions to bring in.Jay-z is one riches rappers and not because his albums but clothing line,ask p-diddy.(4)Now the new move to brooklyn will put him #1 in sales in nba appareel kobe will be older 34 in 2 yrs with his career going dow hill and any young kid will love have shirts of of brooklyn as its been used in songs by many rappers.I predict if he goes to Nets with another star and wins a title in Brooklyn,he BE THE BIGGEST STAR NEWYORK has ever seen.Why the other teams would not make sense (MIAMI)he fight for power whos better with Wade.(CHICAGO)He have to beat michael 6 titles to be king there ,with 10yrs max in nba,he not going win 7.(CLEVELAND)both centers are free agentsand old 35,38 in age,jamison is 333 already so that team is on decline in 2 yrs max at title run. he would have to convince BOSH or STODMIREto go there and there is not enough money for 2 stars. (NEW YORK)he can be king there by winning title but new king in brooklyn to win title sound more appealing because america love new adventures

  8. Uncle Drew - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    This pitch by the Knicks is ill (in the original sense of the word)! A real sign of a malaise in society. LeBron should tell them to blow.
    At the end of the day, these guys are all rich so who the frick cares whether it’s a billion or 700 mil?
    Isn’t it all about being “the best”?
    It would be refreshing to see more players sacrifice the money to play on a good team, if they see an opening where they could make a real difference.
    Having said that, it seems like the deck would be too stacked if Miami had Wade, LeBron and Bosh. Then again, sometimes combinations like that don’t always work.

  9. Steve - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Are you old enough to post on here, you say Lebron does not play well under presure. WOW, He is the second leading scorer in the playoffs in modern day basketball averaging over 29 points a game. Kobe only averages 25 a game.

  10. nobody - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    sdot, You need to add three i(s) in front of each of the first three letters of your user name. The birthplace of basketball is Lawrence, KS.

  11. Dee - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    I would ove for LeBron to come to NY but I thought the birthplace of basketball was in Springfield Mass

  12. Robj - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Dear Lakers fans,
    It is not necessary for you to respond to every article that mentions Lebron James by telling us that Kobe Bryant is superior and that you want to have his baby. Your obsession with Lebron James is weird and a little creepy.
    Best Wishes,
    (No, I’m not a Cavs fan)

  13. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    If Lebron wants a bigger pie of the Chinese market, then he should work on a sign and trade deal with the Rockets. They have an advantage on that market and would be a formidable force in the West if he were to sign there.

  14. Marty - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    This self-proclaimed king will never dare set foot in the house that Jordan built. For this reason he will not end up in Chicago. Jordan’s shadow is too daunting for James to come anywhere near it. He will most likely end up in Miami.

  15. Marty - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    This self-proclaimed king will never dare set foot in the house that Jordan built. For this reason he will not end up in Chicago. Jordan’s shadow is too daunting for James to come anywhere near it. He will most likely end up in Miami.

  16. yea ok Robj - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    reason y to talk bout KOBE is because everyone is always talking bout LB b n mvp and comparing him to one wants to have his baby….he has 2 already….lol…n e ways just to mention is that too much money is going to b invested on a player thats not going to win a championship team with need to come and talk ur smack to these laker fans..and im no KOBE lakers for me..SA

  17. Mark C. - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I have personal info that Lebron is coming to Dallas to play for my Mavericks. I mean the Mavericks. Once I resign my German Blitzkreig Dirk we will be unstopable. You know you loved me on dancing with the stars MFFL!!!!!!!

  18. Jimee Johnson - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Most erudite comment on LeBron I’ve seen. He is a business, mahn!

  19. Max - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    There is no way he would ever go to Miami. Think about it. For LeBron to get the attention that he wants, he would have to win the way Jordan and Kobe did, with his name in the spotlight. If he joined forces with Wade and Bosh in Miami and say they win 3 championships in the next 5 years, who’s the player with more rings? That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Dwayne Wade. Wade will always have 1 more than James if they were on the same team because Wade won already in Miami. He’s not going to Miami.

  20. cantbelieveit - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    To even talk about this kind of money for playing basketball (or any other professional sport) is OBSCENE when you consider the state of the world today.

  21. CANADIANLADY - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Basketball was invented by a Canadian while working at a YMCA in Springfield Mass. Many sources online (including the site) will confirm this.

  22. sam - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    who cares where lebron goes. I am not a lebron fan. First of all he is a coward. He has never entered the slam dunk contest all of the other superstars entered the slam dunk contest (kobe, jordan etc.)He is scared to be showed up. Secondly he always gets intimidated in the playoffs. He does not attack the basket, sometimes he is boring to watch especially in playoff time. he may be another Karl Malone lots of points scored but no ring.

  23. Raymond Dunton - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    With all the mention of different teams for LeBron to sign with, I am surprised that the Celtics haven’t been mentioned as a team with interest in signing him.

  24. JohnC - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Lebron – Be smart about this. Regardless of with whom you sign, you are going to make more money than you or your family could spend in a dozen lifetimes. Is there really a difference between $500 million and $700 million? You should be thinking about your legacy. Sign with the team that will help you win the most championships and solidify your place in sports history. Nobody remembers how much money Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson made, but everyone knows the number of rings they have.

  25. Joe S - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Errr…how did that 2008 Boston “dynasty” turn out????

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