Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is not only known for his talent on the basketball court, but also for his business acumen. However, one of his business ventures appears to have taken a hit.
The four-time NBA MVP is an investor in the Blaze Pizza chain of restaurants in Berkeley, California. The branch has reportedly closed permanently.
“Thank you so much to our readers for letting us know that Blaze Pizza’s ‘Closed for Summer’ door sign is no longer accurate, and the Berkeley location is now marked as permanently closed on Yelp and the main Blaze website,” wrote Joanna Della. Oakland De Pena. “The phone was also down. That’s surprising considering the two-year-old fast-casual pizza joint seems to be popular with students, but it looks like Blaze is definitely taking off. Blaze Pizza is located at 2400 Bancroft Road, Berkeley“.
James reportedly invested in Blaze Pizza in 2012, when the company was being launched by its founders. The next year, while still playing for the Miami Heat, he became interested in operating a franchise in South Florida. Since then, he has expanded his involvement to several other locations.
Interestingly, Blaze Pizza has gone through some great years from a revenue perspective since James joined. Of course, it’s difficult to measure the exact impact of the four-time NBA champion owning and endorsing the brand, but what is certain is that he was a key factor in its success.
The closing of Berkeley certainly won’t have much of an impact on James’ bottom line. There has been no word on why it had to be permanently closed.
In addition to Blaze Pizza, the Ohio native has an extensive business portfolio that includes owning SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted. He also joined the Fenway Sports Group ownership group, becoming a part-owner of several sports clubs including the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.
Thanks in part to his business empire, James is officially a billionaire. This is an unprecedented feat as he is still an active NBA player. By comparison, another basketball billionaire, Michael Jordan, reached this level more than a decade after retiring.
James’ wealth could allow him to one day become an NBA team owner, a dream he has been vocal about in recent years. For now, he’s focused on giving his best on the court and helping the Lakers compete for another championship.
With a 19-time All-Star leader and a strong supporting cast, the team is one of the favorites to challenge for the NBA championship this season.