BREAKING: After a scene stealing turn in the Universal comedy Trainwreck, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is taking his talents to Burbank. He has partnered in a content creation deal with Warner Bros Entertainment that will put his SpringHill Entertainment banner on the studio track to generate content in TV, movies and digital. Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros, James and his SpringHill cofounder Maverick Carter are calling the arrangement unprecedented.
“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” said Tsujihara. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a
big win for fans everywhere. We’re excited to welcome LeBron and Maverick to the Warner Bros. family and look forward to partnering on incredible projects that will connect with consumers across a variety of platforms.”
Said James: “Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion. In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to Uninterrupted and Survivor’s Remorse, it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy. And I’ve always loved
movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”
James had been courted by several studios before he made his splashy acting turn in the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck, opposite Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Among those projects that had heat at one time or another was Ballers, a film that had Kevin Hart poised to play the brother of an NBA superstar (James), who after living in his sibling’s shadow gets a chance to prove himself at a basketball camp operated by his bro.
There is a long record of basketball stars who’ve tried to transition to movies and TV. Most of it has ended in futility. Michael Jordan made a splash in Space Jam, and while he certainly had the poise and good looks to go further, he seemed to lose interest. Shaquille O’Neal had a few forgettable onscreen turns that included Shazam, Julius Erving had The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. Ray Allen got strong notices starring opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s He Got Game. Magic Johnson had a short lived late night talk show. Then there is Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who made two of the most noteworthy acting turns by a hoops star, shining as an airline pilot in the Zucker Brothers spoof Airplane!, and squaring off against Bruce Lee in that actor’s final film, Game of Death. Jabbar also developed projects as a producer, and that is where James can make a mark.
SpringHill’s output so far includes Disney XD’s inspirational series Becoming, the Starz’ scripted comedy
Survivor’s Remorse; Uninterrupted, the multimedia platform for unfiltered athlete content hosted on Turner digital platform Bleacher Report, and an upcoming primetime game show for NBC.