Basketball superstar LeBron James is getting the CNBC treatment.
Cleveland Hustles, will follow James and his longtime friend and business partner, Maverick Carter (a 2010 Inc. 30 under 30 honoree), as they turn to empowering local businesses to revitalize some of Cleveland's struggling neighborhoods. Throughout the series, James and Carter will tap four of their business associates to mentor four local entrepreneurs who are trying to get their businesses off the ground.
James first made a name for himself for his basketball skills, becoming the first-round pick in the 2003 NBA draft and garnering comparisons to a young Michael Jordan. But as his star power has risen, he's also been savvy about finding ways to extend his notoriety into business success.
Other athletes are focusing their efforts on signing endorsement deals or appearing in commercials for national brands like Under Armour or Taco Bell. "LeBron is trying to make his money from owning a franchise like Taco Bell," ESPN's Brian Windhorst wrote in December.
James and Carter have been friends since childhood, and together they run their own marketing company, LRMR. In July they launched Uninterrupted, a media platform for athletes that has received a $15.8 million investment from Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Sports. James has also invested in numerous businesses, including artisanal pizza place Blaze Pizza. Most recently, he signed a lifetime contract with Nike.
Lemonis' new show, The Partner, will follow the serial entrepreneur as he interviews the show's "contestants" for the chance to become his business partner. Over the course of three seasons on The Profit, Lemonis has invested more than $35 million in various businesses, and according to a press release from CNBC, he's "looking for the perfect partner to help him run it all." The winning candidate will earn a position working alongside Lemonis, and a potential equity stake in his growing business empire.
Both series will debut in the summer.