DraftKings found a fitting king to wear its crown, as LeBron James is the newest athlete to partner with the company.
Robins: ‘honor’ to add James to DraftKings
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins called working with James an “absolute honor and privilege:”
“Welcoming one of the most influential and greatest athletes of all time, LeBron James, to the DraftKings family is an absolute honor and privilege,” Robins said. “We look forward to working with a passionate sports fan who shares the same competitive mindset that echoes throughout the walls at DraftKings, while delivering exciting engagement opportunities to our customers and his loyal fanbase for years to come.”
Rule change allows LeBron partnership
This type of partnership would not have been allowed before this NBA season.
It was the most recent collective bargaining agreement that went into effect for the 2023-24 season that allows active players to both endorse and invest in sports betting and fantasy sports companies.
Naturally, James will not be offering any betting suggestions on NBA games while he is an active player, though that could change if he is still partnered with the company after retirement.
Deal comes after report of LeBron manager betting illegally
DraftKings and James announced their partnership almost two months to the day after the Washington Post reported that Maverick Carter, James’s business partner and manager, bet on NBA games with an illegal bookie.
Carter told federal agents in 2021 that he placed about 20 football and basketball bets with Wayne Nix. Nix was eventually arrested for an illegal betting scheme he ran which accepted bets from current and former athletes.
Nix is in the news again after former MGM Grand President Scott Sibella pleaded guilty for failing to file reports of suspicious transactions involving Nix as required under anti-money laundering rules.
Game changer for DraftKings?
DraftKings is no stranger to celebrity partners, with people like Kevin Hart, Tony Hawk and David Ortiz appearing in promotions for the sportsbook.
James, however, may be a whole new level for the Boston-based company. Along with being one of the best to ever play basketball, James is a cultural icon whose voice is respected in many walks of life.
He has 52.8 million followers on Twitter, compared to about 377,000 for DraftKings. That pales in comparison to the 159 million followers James has on Instagram.