The first line of his business card reads "King James Inc."
Below that, it says "Randy Mims, manager/personal assistant."
When he handed me the card almost two years ago, he was not too far removed from selling cell phones for a living. He had a dream like King, a dream that ran through his boy. Bron was the future, and we all knew it.
But who knew that one day, Randy Mims would be King.
From the outside looking in, it doesn't look good. Doesn't make sense. Doesn't seem smart. Why would a multi-million dollar company sever ties with the management group that legally and financially represented it since its incorporation, in favor of an unproven, untested upstart that has less than four years' worth of professional negotiation experience among the top three executives, with no one certified as an agent? Where no one has a law degree?
When a player fires his agent or attorney, it isn't necessarily news. It happens often and we rarely hear about it or care about it. Allen Iverson leaves David Falk, no news. Kobe leaves IMG, nothing.
But when LeBron James files papers, as he did Tuesday, with the NBPA, informing it that he is no longer represented by Eric and Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management (GSM), it's news. Deeper, when he replaces them with two of his best friends and one of the most infamous people in professional sports, and a record label, it's time to ask questions.
Why? What's the point? Why now? What's really going on?
Why, after only two (three, unofficially) years, would the fourth most marketable athlete in the world (behind Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher and David Beckham) cut the people who helped shape him into the icon he's become? More importantly, why would he replace them with a non-tenured at this point, nonexistent agency instead of going to, say, IMG, which could make him the black Beckham? Or even, from a recognition standpoint, the next Ali?
Why would LeBron James put his future in the hands of his friends?
From the outside looking in, nobody knows. From calls I put in to the principals involved and some of the people this move will affect, no one seems to have the answers. Everything is speculative. As I heard someone say in the background when I called the offices of LeBron James Inc.: "We gotta lotta work to do."
I hope they know what they're in for.
Think insurance. An analogy: Representation in professional sports, especially in the NBA, where salary caps generate fixed-rate contracts, is like insurance. No one ever gets insurance for, let's say, a car with the intention of things going wrong. Ever seen someone enter a Bentley dealership, put $350K down, drive out of the lot and purposely run into a brick wall?
Insurance protects us from the unexpected and unforeseen. No one predicts disasters or dramas. People create disasters; drama finds athletes. In LeBron's case, nothing unforeseen has hit him or his career. If anything, his original management team made sure that nothing affected the Inc., and that nothing dented his image. Everything's been irie.