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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. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    Im right there with ya brother

  2. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Couldnt have said it better Omnius!!!

  3. notyetforkobe - Jul 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    I don’t understand how some of these Lakers fan think that Kobe was the star of all of his championships. Remember he had a guy on his team called Shaq!! Sure Kobe was huge that last two years, but how can you forget that SHAQ was the MVP for Kobe’s first three rings. Shaq was not a role player, he was the star of the team and Kobe was the role player. Pau Gasol is no Shaq, but he’s an elite player. Kobe’s a winner for sure, but he’s had big help. I really hope LeBron outshines Kobe in the long run because as a person and a role model he’s much better. Kobe is a douche.

  4. notyetforkobe - Jul 3, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    I don’t understand how some of these Lakers fan think that Kobe was the star of all of his championships. Remember he had a guy on his team called Shaq!! Sure Kobe was huge that last two years, but how can you forget that SHAQ was the MVP for Kobe’s first three rings. Shaq was not a role player, he was the star of the team and Kobe was the role player. Pau Gasol is no Shaq, but he’s an elite player. Kobe’s a winner for sure, but he’s had big help.
    I really hope LeBron outshines Kobe in the long run because as a person and a role model he’s way better. Kobe is a proven winner, but he’s also a proven douche.

  5. Robert Newman - Jul 3, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    If New York provides that kind of financial leverage, then why do all the great players want to play somewhere else when they become free agents. Karem left the Bucks to play in LA, so did Wilt. KG and Ray Allen headed to Boston. If Jordan and Pippin had not put together five championships in Chicago, they would have both bailed and gone to LA or Boston. It has been a very long time since anyone really wanted to play in New York for either the Knicks or the the Nets.

  6. Allendroth - Jul 3, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    This is how it will play out. LeBron will stay in Cleveland. Bosh will come to Miami and soon after, Miami will get a new and much needed center. Joe Johnson will stay in Atlanta. Amare? Know clue… Im sure it wont be Chicago though.

  7. terry - Jul 3, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Remember this – “It don’t mean a THING if you ain’t got that ring.”
    Wade is the ONLY one who has a ring and he won it by taking over the finals when Dallas had Miami on the run – Wade stepped up and TOOK OVER THE GAME. You can’t teach that – not to say he can’t but James has yet to show that he is THE MAN when everything is on the line. IMO Wade is the most best player here – he is a PROVEN winner. The Heat ain’t got the players right now, the Bulls do, the nix got nothin’, the Nets are a joke.
    The Bulls should sign Wade and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
    And it will.

  8. terry - Jul 3, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    A little history.
    Between 1991 and 1998 the Bulls won 6 championships in 8 years. During that time they had a turnover rate of 83% – 10 out of 12 players. Of course it doesn’t hurt if the remaining 17% are named Jordan and Pippen but that is STILL an impressive accomplishment.
    With the exception of Michael Jordan EVERY player and EVERY coach on EACH of those 6 NBA champion teams – including Phil Jackson – came to Chicago because of Jerry Krause.
    A little history.

  9. jesse - Jul 3, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    How can you speak of a heavenly creator using those type of words, was that to impress? The lakers are good for the time being, basically because of four good players. I will end with the lakers just as it ended with Chicao and boston. No I am no saint, I don’t like to read words like that before noon.

  10. James - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Nobody cares how much money Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods made, except for their ex wives. But everybody knows how many championship rings, finals MVP Jordan has.
    Jordan didn’t earn the bulk of his money from his basketball salary, it was the endorsements. And people bought Air Jordans, well… because he’s a champion with 6 rings.
    And you don’t need to be in NY. LeBron wants a clothing line? All he has to do is phone Jay-Z. And if Jay-Z was a REAL friend, he’d give LeBron enough advice to get started.
    And basketball was invented by a Canadian. And not in NY.

  11. Ryan - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    He chocked because there was a rumor going around about Delonte nailing his mother so wouldn’t your mind be in a frenzy? especially if you were playing with the person who was named to be in the situation? Think about it Lebron was unstoppable until that came about he loves his mother a lot like any guy does. Enough said. So go eat a fat one you haters.

  12. Angelo de Guzman - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THE FINANCIAL MODEL USED BY INTERBRAND. NYK PROBABLY PAID TONS OF $$$ JUST TO JUSTIFY THE REPORT. RELIANCE IN COMPLEX BUT ILLOGICAL FINANCIAL MODELS WERE ONE OF THE REASONS FOR THE US SUBPRIME CRISIS MELTDOWN…AND NYK THINKS LEBRON IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN MORE $$$? HELL, NO. HE WANTS TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP NOW. THAT’S THE BOTTOMLINE! – Angelo, CPA and MBA

  13. gulder_roy - Jul 4, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    It seems like there are two themes to the Lebron making a billion$ story. One is that he needs to sell a lot of crap in China and the other is that he needs to win championships. Otherwise, he gets max salary from any team. Therefore, pick the team that (1) makes him popular in China and (2) gives him a good chance of championships. Which team? Houston. Houston has Yao and that makes the team popular in China. And Yao would be the best teammate Lebron has ever had. The Rockets look pretty loaded at every position except SF. Brooks-Lowry are an excellent pair at PG, Martin is an excellent SG, Scola is near all-star level at PF and Yao is the best offensive C in the NBA. What team offers a better chance than the Rockets of a championship? And what team is better that Houston for making Lebron an international star?

  14. luffy - Jul 8, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    Btw, does the Monicker “King” for Lebron James stands for a ruler? or KingKong for short?

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