“We’ve been through a lot this year,” said LeBron James. The three-time NBA champion and Los Angeles Laker talked to me on June 23 via Zoom with his childhood friend and business partner, Maverick Carter. It was the second of two joint interviews to discuss their new company, but the first since the world locked down because of Covid-19. James was in their hometown of Akron, while Carter was in L.A. Kobe Bryant’s death in January was followed by the pandemic and the suspension of the NBA season, and then, of course, the horrific killing of George Floyd. “Just seeing that video, how many people were hurt not only in Minneapolis, but all over the world—and especially in the Black community, because we’ve seen this over and over and over. So, you know,” he added, “it’s been a lot that’s gone on in 2020.”
The pair thought it was going to be a big year for different reasons. On March 11, the same day the NBA suspended its season and a little more than a week before their adopted hometown ordered residents to shelter in place, James and Carter formed the SpringHill Co. after raising $100 million. They describe it as a media company with an unapologetic agenda: a maker and distributor of all kinds of content that will give a voice to creators and consumers who’ve been pandered to, ignored, or underserved.