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Owners get a new “LeBron Rule” in NBA labor deal

Dec 19, 2011, 6:15 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

There was a whole lot about the NBA lockout that was really about LeBron James. About who has the power, the owners or players.

But some things are more specific than others. Like this note from the Sports Business Journal (via Eye on Basketball).

NBA players are now prohibited from holding an ownership stake in a player-management firm or from acting as National Basketball Players Association-certified agents under a provision in the league’s new collective-bargaining agreement.

The provision was something NBA owners asked for and players agreed to as one of the so-called B-list items, terms that were collectively bargained after the NBPA re-formed as a union, according to a union source.

This is very directly aimed at LeBron James and his marketing arm LRMR, the marketing firm he and his buddies founded, which last year merged with the Fenway Sports Group. Neither LRMR nor Fenway represent any players in terms of negotiations — they are marketing arms, not agents — but that line is kind of blurred for players now (agents help set up marketing deals all the time) so the owners decided to try and rein it in.

And we have a “LeBron James rule” that tries to limit players power and potential income, something that comes at the request of the owners. Sounds about right.

  1. charlutes - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    And they wonder why they get the slave references

  2. goforthanddie - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Good rule, but a stretch just to get leb in the news.

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    He played out his contract, gave the Cavs the greatest 7 years in their history times 1000. He was an unrestricted free agent, and took less money to play where he wanted. The rule they should make is a Carmelo/ Chris Paul/Dwight Howard Rule against holding your team hostage and potentially sabotaging them, while under contract.

    • thenoblefacehumper - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:54 PM

      The flip side to that is the Nuggets and Hornets are in a much better position than the Cavs were when LeBron left. The Cavs would’ve probably preferred he make it clear he wasn’t coming back, so they could’ve gotten something in return.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        Lebron was more focused on trying to win a championship for the team and city that he was playing for. You think it would have been better if he spent the season trying to get traded?

  4. hushbrother - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Again, I’m confused as to why it is that LeBron James wields “too much” power, or how he somehow opened the floodgates that transferred power to the players that had previously been held by the owners.

    LeBron was a free agent, and he chose to sign with Miami. He didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head demanding a trade there. Cleveland could have locked him up years ago, preventing him from ever becoming a free agent. They didn’t, and he left of his own accord. How was that different from any other player exercising his right to free agency?

    Perhaps the more appropriate poster boy for “bullying” his team into having his way is Carmelo Anthony. He basically said “trade me, and trade me to the Knicks.” and he got his way. To me, that set a worse precedent than what LeBron did.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:38 PM

      Amen Brother

    • progress2011 - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:40 PM

      You and 1972wasalongtimeago are correct. It’s pure business sense and common sense. I’ve concluded that the reason LBJ took so much ” Heat ” from leaving Cleveland is because he was the only marketing scheme for the entire city / state of Ohio.

      Clevelands obstacles include:

      1. Unemployment rate below national average but most jobs are minimum wage
      2. History of losing sports teams
      3. Extremely high crime rates
      4. Very high dropout rates

      Therefore LBJ was considered the savior of the entire city, if not the entire state of Ohio. When he left, all of their dreams of relevance, vanished in one info-mercial.

      That’s why other players that did not play out their contracts and demanded trades ( aka mello, CP3 etc. etc. etc. ) , never received the backlash LBJ did.

      I’m glad to see LBJ has many other investments and has a multi-faceted investment portfolio.

      The city of Cleveland and Ohio will get over it !

      I just think its funny to see all the haters of this one man, because he made a business decision any smart competitive business person will make.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:56 PM

        Amen to you too brother

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:02 AM

        Wow, am I in a parallel universe? Are posters actually rationalizing and making sense??

        Oh, I know, Cleveland is still sleeping.

      • BrownsTown - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        Are you a demographer or did you just stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night? I can’t dispute #2, but the rest is largely cliched stereotypes that you can’t back up with data.
        I bet you felt smart trying to add some new angles to this issue, but me thinks you should stick with basketball cliches, not regional cliches.

      • BrownsTown - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:39 AM


        With you having such a large income as a member of the Miami Heat (you know, because you use “we” when speaking of the Heat), I can understand why you’re not up on the poor demographic trends of the Miami area. However, I would recommend checking out some stats in between rubbing one out to your Wade Fathead.

        People in shantytowns shouldn’t throw stones.

  5. rwmilli - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    People tend to forget it’s not what he did, but how he did it. I agree with the carmello thing 100%, and I’m not a Cleve fan or lebron.

  6. andyreidisfat - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Lebron IMO did something much worse than the other players. Atleast melo and Howard gave their team a heads up on what the deal was lebron knowing he was going to leave strung cleveland along making them think he would stay when everyone knew he wouldn’t .

    The topic though is about a player from one team having stock in a player on another. The fact that that goes on is moronic. Besides the fact of how many millions does one human need, it creates a big time conflict of interest.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 19, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      Pujols didn’t make it clear he was going to leave St. Louis. In fact, no free agentnin the history of sports has ever said they were leaving( other than Melo, CP3, and Dwight of course). But since Lebron didn’t make it known he was gone, he’s the jerk. Maybe he was too focused on carrying the entire franchise for the 7th year in a row to complain.

      And what’s Espn’s role in “The Decision”. They certainly didn’t help with the way they produced that thing.

    • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:57 AM

      Owners trade players all the time with no heads up so why should the players have to do so…example deron Williams, lamar odom, gasol…etc

    • tampajoey - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM

      I agree with your comment. Lebron “dicked” the Cavs around by leading them to believe he stay and then bailing after the Cavs had no other options. I lost all respect for Lebron the way he handled the situation in Cleveland. He’ll always be a P.O.S. in my book.

  7. velascochad - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    there’s nothing wrong with lebron’s free agency stuff. the only “sht” he ever did was “the decision” airing it for a long duration only to say he’s going to south beach and his BS attitude acting like a prima donna.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 20, 2011 at 12:17 AM

      It was just a press conference. It’s been a year and a half. Get over it.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:04 AM

      Yea that was turrrible. Just outright blasphemy.. What he did was horrific..

      Get a girlfriend.

    • ishudbgm - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Magic Johnson had a press conference to announce he was leaving bball because he was cheating on his wife and had AIDS…(imagine your kids watching and asking what is AIDS and why does he have to leave)!!!! Jordan left bball to go play baseball because he promised his father that we would try…(then came back like some prima donna and demanded his retired number back and half of us went out and bought a #45 jersey only for it to become a dish rag)……yet the whole world cheers for two selfish people and Im supposed to feel like LBJ was wrong for what he did……He gave money to the Boys & Girls club and provided a program for all of us to watch in July when there wasn’t anything on and ESPN kept repeating over and over that the BIG 3 in Boston were gonna try again to win another title. THANK YOU LBJ…..thank you for not being like melo, cp3, and dhoward and demanding that your team focus their whole entire season to make you happy early!!!! LBJ at least went to the finals before he left

  8. maverickstar7 - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Its clear by some of these comments that people either don’t read the article or don’t comprehend it. Its not about free agency, someone having too much power, or the owners being slave masters. Its about players being prohibited from owning a stake in a player representation firm or representing other players themselves. That could open the door for some serious conflict of interest cases.

  9. justbhouse2 - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Lebron, you could place your partnership interest in a trust similar to the one Cheney had Haliburton used while vice president

  10. somekat - Dec 19, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    I see no problem with a rule that says players can’t be, or work for companies that are, player agents. If you can’t see a possible conflict of interest there, I don’t know what to tell you

  11. bigtganks - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    Does everyone from Cleveland just thumbs down everything here, regardless if it makes sense?

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM


  12. sguy2130 - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Wow, did some of you not read the article?? This is not about Lebron leaving Cleveland, yet most of you take this opportunity to bash Cleveland? He left Cleveland, but what does that have to do with this….This article is about a player having interest/investment in a firm that represents players, which should not be allowed under any circumstances. Why do you people always resort to this as Cleveland crying? This is just common sense….it’s a conflict of interest, plain and simple.

    You got a thumbs down because you don’t know how to read…sorry.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      Okay, I read the article. It clearly said “Neither LRMR nor Fenway represent any players in terms of negotiations — they are marketing arms, not agents”. So the title of article basically just took a cheap shot at Lebron for no reason. Other than to fan the flames.

      Anything Lebron does or doesn’t do becomes headline news. It’s been annoying for a long time, and now it just seems asinine.

  13. dysraw1 - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    i still think of Scottie Pippen as a bitch for refusing to enter the game in the during the fourth quarter,after the coach called the play for Tony Kukos. an just like that LbJ will be considered bitch. that move was some down low girl crap

    • bigtganks - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      Who’s Tony Kukos?

  14. thestudiokida - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    I love LeBron James. I would let him have me.

  15. chichi78 - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    The fact that Lebron was allowed to stage basketball camps for high schoolers should have gotten him in trouble sooner. Even if he doesn’t own an agency, but a “marketing company”, he had an unfair advantage because he got to influence these high schoolers to go with him for future marketing.

    Freakin MJ got in trouble for shaking North Carolina players hands, but that was considered collusive (since he is an owner), so why shouldn’t Lebron, especially since he was working kids to make a $$$.

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