NBA star LeBron James has taken a stake in Canyon Bicycles, the Germany-based brand has revealed in a move that the brand believes will boost its profile in the United States and internationally.
The LA Lakers legend, who vies with Michael Jordan for the accolade of greatest basketball player of all time, acquired the undisclosed stake through LRMR, the private office investment firm he owns jointly with childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter.
New York City-based private equity firm SC Holdings has also taken a stake in the bike manufacturer, which remains controlled by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, and will work with James, Carter and Canyon founder and CEO Roman Arnold in helping execute its plans for growth in the United States, including in e-bikes, as well as raising the profile of the business internationally.
“While we were not actively looking for new investors, LRMR and the SC team immediately understood our mission to build the world’s most inspiring and innovative bike company,” Arnold said.
“Their passion for what we are building will make them instrumental members of our team.”
Carter, who played basketball at high school alongside James in Akron, Ohio, where LRMR is based, commented: “As an avid cyclist and storyteller, I’m excited about partnering with Canyon.
“The quality of the products, the power of the Canyon brand, and the unique distribution model create a lot of compelling opportunities we want to be a part of.”
James, aged 37, is passionate about cycling, not only as a means of keeping fit and getting around – he’s regularly been spotted cycling to training at the various NBA sides he’s played for – but also in the power of the bicycle to transform lives.
In 2020 he partnered with bike share firm Lyft to open up access to its network to disadvantaged youngsters, and speaking at a launch event at the Harlem YMCA in New York City he said that ““Growing up, a bike changed everything for me. It was more than a way to go see my friends or play basketball – it was a way of life.
> LeBron James partners with Lyft to open bikeshare access to teens across US
“A bike opened doors, allowed me to get to safe places after school, and gave me access to opportunities I never would have known.”
Previously, in 2018, he pledged a free bike for every student at a school for at-risk children he had set up in Akron.
> Free bikes for every student at NBA star LeBron James's school for at-risk kids
James said at the time: “I know these kids basically more than they know themselves.
“I walked the same streets. I rode the same bikes on the streets that they ride on. I went through the same emotions. The good, the bad, the adversity.
“Everything these kids are going through, the drugs, the violence, the guns, everything they’re going through as kids, I know.”
Last month, the Liverpool Echo reported that James’s net worth had hit $1 billion – the first active NBA player to achieve that, with fellow basketball billionaire Michael Jordan hitting 10 figures after his retirement.
Investments he has made over the years include taking a 2 per cent stake in Liverpool FC – the team he supports – in 2011 and which he subsequently converted into a 1 per cent stake in the Premier League outfit’s majority shareholder, Fenway Sports Group.
James is now working with Nike to develop a line of Liverpool FC merchandise which it is believed can harness his worldwide fame and bring the club new supporters more interested in lifestyle brands rather than football itself.
He and Carter also own SpringHill, a production company that co-produced last year’s Space Jam 2: A New Legacy – a sequel to the 1996 mixed live action and animation movie Space Jam, which starred Jordan, and James himself plays the lead role in the follow-up film.
James is also executive producer of the BBC quiz show, The Wall, hosted by the Queen Vic’s own Danny Dyer, with the format originally debuting under the same name on NBC in the US in 2016.
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