LeBron James is becoming a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday that James — the Los Angeles Lakers star — and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter are now partners in the Fenway Sports Group. The person, who did not reveal the size of the investment made by James or Carter, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because none of the parties involved had announced the moves publicly.
The Boston Globe first reported the news, and The New York Times and ESPN also reported that James and Carter were becoming partners.
Fenway Sports Group is the parent company of the Red Sox as well as the Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League and the Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR team.
Fenway Sports Group Chairman Tom Werner did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. A spokeswoman for the Red Sox and FSG declined to comment.
It is a most unusual relationship in one respect: James has long professed to being a New York Yankees fan, though he has also shown allegiances to the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers in recent years.
And now, he’ll be linked to the Red Sox — the Yankees’ biggest rival.
James has had a relationship with FSG since 2011, when he signed a marketing deal in exchange for a small ownership stake in Liverpool.
Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said James being able to buy into the group is a huge step, especially when considering the example it sets for diversity in business.
“I think when you look at him in particular, and his forethought to be able to put himself in position to change generational wealth, has been amazing,” Bickerstaff said. “And you look at not only what he’s done for himself but what it allows him to do for other people. It’s something that inspires, something for others to marvel at.”
The move only enhances James’ business empire. The four-time NBA champion with Miami, Cleveland and the Lakers is believed to have the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio. He also has the media company Uninterrupted and a production company, SpringHill Entertainment.
“You knew that he has a great eye and passion for business,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And he doesn’t set any boundaries on where he can take it. He’s a big Yankees fan, so I think that that makes it fun.”
James has spoken often in recent years about his off-court role in society, and how he values that part of his life as much as he does still being one of basketball’s elite players.
“I still know what I do on the floor and obviously, I give everything to the game,” James told AP in December. “But I can make a greater impact off the floor right now, more than I can on the floor. And I want to continue to inspire people with the way I play the game of basketball. But there’s so many more things that I can do off the floor to help cultivate people, inspire people, bring people together, empower them.”