Not only may LeBron James be the best player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA), he may be the most powerful player of all time as well. "King James" as many fans around the world call the basketball player, is a superstar wherever he goes. From Cleveland to Miami and back to Cleveland, he has brought each of his teams to the NBA Finals. LeBron has appeared in the NBA Finals a total of eight times in his career which is a record high for any player in the NBA. With all of this being said, there is no doubt LeBron is a powerful player making valuable contributions to the city in which he lives. This is why LeBron's move to the Los Angeles Lakers may be very bad news for not only the Cleveland Cavaliers as a team but to the city of Cleveland as a whole.
According to espn.com, LeBron James is the most valuable free agent in the history of any sport. Forbes magazine states, when LeBron James left Cleveland the first time in the summer of 2010, the Cavilers franchise value dropped from a whopping $476 million dollars to $355 million with the loss of just one player. Some might even say LeBron James himself helped build the city of Cleveland and make it what it is today. When LeBron had his start in Cleveland for the first seven years of his career, businesspeople in the city felt more comfortable doing deals in the city with James' presence. Joe Roman, the president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership said, "In the first seven years LeBron was here, he gave business people the confidence to double down and invest” (Roman). There is truly no telling how much money LeBron helped bring into the city of Cleveland.
This chart from SBRnet: Sports Business Research Network shows the importance of LeBron James in Cleveland's Franchise Value. In 2015 when LeBron came back to Cleveland from Miami, the team's value jumped from $515 million to $915 Million in just one year. In addition, James also leaves a huge impact on the food and drink industry for his team's city. Studies have shown that LeBron James had a statistically and economically positive effect on the number of bars and restaurants in the area of the team's arena along with the employment in the food and drink industry. History has shown that the number of restaurants in the Cleveland and Miami area has both spiked upon James' arrival. Referring to previous data, I would expect that restaurants and bars in the Cleveland area will have a decrease in profit, while the number of restaurants and bars in the Los Angeles area will increase significantly when James arrives in his new city.
It is remarkable to think LeBron James, the NBA superstar, can have this sort of impact on not only a franchise but on a city as a whole. He truly has the power to make or break a franchise being the most valuable player in NBA history. While pinning LeBron with the title of the world’s best player is a matter of opinion, the ratings and numbers do not lie. James continues to march on with no end in sight. It seems there are more NBA records to break and championships to be won. LeBron may get older but somehow, he magically stays in his prime.
About the Author
This blog post was written by Samford University student Christian Williams Stark. You can learn more about Christian Williams Stark at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christian-stark-2292b3114/ .
Rovell, D. (2018, June 13). LeBron James is worth hundreds of millions to the Cavs and Cleveland.
DeCosta-Klipa, N. (2017, May 17). Harvard study says LeBron James has tangible economic impact on local bars and restaurants.
SMA Sports Market Analytics. Basketball: NBA Team Valuations (Forbes) (2017)