Transforming Childhood Bonds into Billion-Dollar Success: The Unstoppable Rise of LeBron James and Mav Carter

In their twenties, LeBron James brought on Mav Carter, a boyhood friend, to advise him on financial matters.

He developed their $725M media company, secured his $30M stock deal with Beats, and obtained a 2% share in Liverpool for $100M.Contributing to LeBron’s $1 billion+ valuation, making him the first active NBA player to achieve this extraordinary feat.

Ask smart people lots of questions.

That’s what Maverick Carter, the longtime friend and business manager of basketball superstar LeBron James, would tell his 22-year-old self.

“I always tell young people: When you meet someone successful, ask them as many questions as you can,” said Carter, who is now 34, in an interview with CNBC. “Because there’s nothing more successful people love — nothing more — than talking about their successes, and you can learn a lot in that.”

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James' business manager Maverick Carter attends the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Los Angeles.

To be sure, Carter, who grew up alongside James in Akron, Ohio, has achieved success on his own. He has managed King James’ off-court business dealings, most recently winning a $1 billion deal with Nike. Carter and James met when Carter was eight and James was only five. They’ve been officially working together for almost a decade.

According to Carter, asking successful people questions has two benefits: you learn from them and ingratiate yourself with them.

“I use that in every single facet of my life, every single day,” he told me. “When you ask people questions about what they’ve done, not only do you get knowledge, but they like you because people like to be asked questions about what they’ve done and talk to someone who’s interested in them.”

Carter learned to be curious from his father. “In my day-to-day life, I did learn to be passionately curious from my dad and always search and have a hunger for knowledge and want to understand why things work the way they do,” he went on to say.

LeBron James and Maverick Carter attend the Beats in the Six and Drake Welcome Dinner at Fring's on February 11, 2016, in Toronto, Canada.

He is also inspired by an Albert Einstein quotation, which he keeps in mind. “I once read a quote from Albert Einstein, who most people consider probably the smartest human being to ever walk the earth, and it said, ‘I have no special talent, I’m only passionately curious.’”
Carter, who operates the media company SpringHill Entertainment and co-executives the CNBC reality business show “Cleveland Hustles” with James, said he is especially interested in the media and content market right now.
“I turn to people who’ve been successful running networks, building production companies, building music companies, and people who have done it, and I ask them about their successes,” he told me. “And you will see them light up and give you all the information you need.”

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