What started out as a mission for two boys from Akron, Ohio, just became a major investment.
Nike, Fenway Sports Group, Epic Games, and RedBird Capital Partners have acquired a minority stake in LeBron James' SpringHill Company, bringing its valuation to $725 million.
CEO Maverick Carter said as great as the valuation is, the investment represents years of hard work for Carter and James, who have been friends since they were children.
"We started this company with the mission and still have the mission of empowering greatness in every individual. I have lived that life because LeBron gave me his platform and empowered me," Carter told "CBS Mornings" in his first broadcast interview since the news was announced.
SpringHill Company has 141 employees — 50% of their employees are women and 67% are people of color.
"When you think about those numbers, what it is, what it represents is the diversity of our team, the empowerment of our team. That's what we're about. And that's what leads to great creativity because if you have people in the room who are not only diverse in race or gender but also diverse in environment, where they came from, what they think, you get discourse. Discourse leads to great ideas," said Carter.
Some of SpringHill Company's recent projects include "Space Jam: A New Legacy," the HBO series "The Shop," and the upcoming documentary "Black Ice." The company's athlete empowerment platform, Uninterrupted Canada, will work alongside rapper Drake's DreamCrew Entertainment to showcase the lives of Black hockey players.
"Hockey for me as a kid from Akron, Ohio, from the hood, I didn't grow up watching hockey, liking hockey, even understanding it, no one played hockey where I was from," Carter said. "But Black people in Canada, like the rest of Canadians, love hockey. There is an untold story about Black players and like other sports in America and across the world, our contributions to the sport."
The new investment and expansion plans haven't shifted Carter and James' original goal when they created SpringHill two decades ago.
"We've always felt this sense of responsibility to each other but as we grew, we changed and had some success, most importantly we feel a responsibility to the kids and the people, Black guys who come behind us, who have to fill the shoes and follow the path that we lead. I do feel the most responsibility to them. I feel some responsibility to my investors too," Carter said.
for more features.