LeBron James Is To Entertainment What Magic Johnson Became To Business
"Trainwreck" lead actress Amy Schumer says that LeBron James could easily have an acting career if he wanted.
Lead actor Bill Hader, who previously worked with LeBron on the set of "Saturday Night Live," labeled the basketball star "effortlessly funny."
Director Judd Apatow went one further. He told the New York Times:
LeBron is a ridiculously good actor. It didn't even really make sense how comfortable he was.
The fact that three of LeBron James' most prominent coworkers would say good things about him is really no surprise. Hyping up LeBron's role does, after all, mean hyping up their own movie.
But there's something to be said for the extent to which all three have gone to give him praise for his performance in the newly released comedy.
Their compliments fit in well with the overly positive reviews that the King has gotten following the movie's opening weekend. The critics' consensus is pretty straightforward: For a guy whose life seemingly revolves around playing basketball, LeBron James is surprisingly good at acting.
But LeBron's performance in the film is just the tip of the iceberg for his career in Hollywood.
Sure, "Trainwreck" is what we see before our eyes now, but James has been gradually putting together a portfolio of entertainment ventures that includes his own production company, hosting gigs, TV shows and, now, a movie appearance.
In fact, when you consider all of his entertainment interests together, you wouldn't be wrong to compare the career LeBron is carving out for himself in showbiz to the career Magic Johnson has made for himself in business.
Since retiring from playing in the NBA, Johnson has created his own franchise of movie theaters, become a part owner of multiple sports franchises and, most recently, bought a financial services company.
I'm excited to announce that I have acquired EquiTrust, a $14.5B financial services company... — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 23, 2015
Magic has essentially become a unique type of businessman -- one who used his basketball wealth and fame to lower the barrier of entry into other ventures, capitalizing on his advantage hugely.
Now, LeBron James is doing the same, but with a twist. James is becoming the Magic Johnson of entertainment.
At the age of 30, LeBron James is already a Top 10 player in NBA history.
But besides being the best basketball player on the planet, he's also found time to be an actor and entertainer, which includes his latest role in "Trainwreck."
LeBron's first significant step in the entertainment industry came in 2007, after his first NBA Finals appearance.
Entering basketball's biggest spotlight at 22 years old, LeBron parlayed his increased fame into hosting "Saturday Night Live."
There, he starred in numerous performances, including the "solid gold dancer" skit.
That same summer, he also did something only the best of all-around entertainers would dare try: hosted an awards show
And his job hosting the 2007 ESPY Awards was an A+ performance.
From that summer onward, it was clear LeBron had a desire to express more of his personality through entertainment. And he is able to do just that with his production company, Spring Hill productions, which is named after the housing projects he grew up in.
So far, Spring Hill has produced a movie about the high school career of LeBron and his former teammates at St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School...
...taken the concept of Nike's "The LeBrons" commercials...
...and produced three seasons of a cartoon version in web-series form.
Both, however, seem like baby steps in comparison to the company's latest moves in the TV industry.
Last October, LeBron starred in the pilot of a half-hour kids show called "Becoming," which chronicled James' rise to stardom
In February, a season of the show was picked up by Disney XD with the intention of broadcasting the "Becoming" of other sports stars.
LeBron told The Hollywood Reporter he would like to target athletes like Richard Sherman, Serena Williams and Tom Brady.
Last fall, SpringHill also produced six episodes of a TV series called "Survivor's Remorse," the concept of which is loosely based on James life.
Starz has since picked up 10 more episodes of the show for a second season, which is set to debut on August 22
James is credited as the executive producer of both "Survivor's Remorse" and an upcoming gameshow on NBC, for which there are casting calls going on all around the nation.
LeBron is also the man behind the first-ever NBA All-Star Weekend fashion show, which aired on TNT in February and was produced by SpringHill.
Now, he's officially added acting to his portfolio with his performance in "Trainwreck."
By all accounts, "Trainwreck" has been a coming out party for James, with him going beyond the typical celebrity cameo by playing a significant role in the movie and even starring in promotional videos for the film.
"Trainwreck" isn't a one-off either, as LeBron will be starring in another film soon with Kevin Hart.
The most interesting of compliments Judd Apatow has given LeBron is that he's not afraid of getting embarrassed to do things that make him look silly.
Like letting Jimmy Fallon dunk a basketball in his face.
And it all makes sense, too.
The more LeBron shows his personality with unfiltered abandon, the more people grow to like him. The more people grow to like him, the more they will tune into his projects.
And with a diversified entertainment portfolio, there are sure to be many more of those projects as LeBron James continues his path to becoming the Magic Johnson of entertainment.