LeBron James has proven to be the king both on and off the court. The NBA star, who was once told to “shut up and dribble,” has partnered with lifelong friend and businessman, Maverick Carter, to launch a new endeavor. Named after the Akron, Ohio apartment complex where James once lived, SpringHill Co. aims to create and distribute a variety of content geared towards underserved audiences. By giving a voice to creators who are often ignored, the company hopes to provide a platform for people of color to gain creative control in an industry where they are overlooked.
Investment banker, Paul Wachter, stated, “This is ultimately a company that’s about point of view, the community you serve, and empowerment… This is a company designed to move the culture.” Committed to diversity, SpringHill’s employees are comprised of a mix between a 40% female and 64% people of color demographic. Additionally, the goal isn’t to center the media company on the back of LeBron’s star power. The company’s CEO, Devin Johnson, stated, “You can’t create a real digital business on a celebrity. We don’t do that with LeBron. He is our founder and our North Star, but the business isn’t built on everything touching him.” SpringHill’s investors include major financial service companies like Guggenheim Partners LLC and UC Investments. Its board is comprised of top names like Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, Tennis star Serena Williams, and Live Nation Entertainment Inc. CEO Michael Rapino.
When asked about the pressure of launching SpringHill, LeBron said, “I’m OK having that pressure of my community and other Black communities across America that look up to me and look to me for inspiration or for guidance.” He continued, “It’s just my responsibility, and I completely understand that. And so every day I leave my home, or I wake up out of my bed, I understand that it’s not just about me. I’m representing so many people.”