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None other than Warren Buffett praises LeBron’s business savvy

Nov 2, 2012, 7:08 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

LeBron James has never made a secret of his desire to be a billionaire, which when he was younger came off like some of his other boasts — the ramblings of person who has never really had to deal with the real world.

But things seem to be changing. On the court we have seen a maturity come over him that propelled him to his first ring and had him playing up near the level of the guy you can’t compare anyone to.

Off the court, the guy you can’t compare anyone to is Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. He’s the investment guru and the second richest man in the United States.

And he thinks LeBron is brilliant at business, too, he told the Miami Herald.

“You have to get to know him,” Buffett said. “LeBron’s not initially really talkative. He’s savvy. He’s smart about financial matters. It’s amazing to me the maturity he exhibits. I know that if I had been famous at that age, I would have had trouble keeping my feet on the ground.”

Forbes estimates that salary and endorsements brought LeBron $53 million in income last year, the fourth highest among athletes. And it would have been more if not for the lockout.

And that number is going up because companies want him as an endorser again (he just signed with Samsung). It’s a swing in his image from just a couple years ago. Again from the Herald.

“He’s arguably the most marketable athlete currently in the U.S. because he brings the most long-term value,” said Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva, a sports and entertainment company. “I don’t think there’s anyone you can compare him to right now … he’s perceived as a really good guy and a winner.”

I don’t really know (or really care) if LeBron gets to his $1 billion goal. But if you’re hanging with Warren Buffett and he thinks your savvy, you’re doing something right.

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