The The FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt ringtone was blowing up Johnny Manziel’s Samsung phone. It was the day of the BCS National Championship Game and Manziel was weighing his options about his draft status. Jay Z was calling for the fifth time today. They'd met inside the VIP area of Story nightclub in Miami four days earlier, and Jay was bringing the all-out blitz. However, Manziel was more elusive than White Goodman in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Instead of signing with Roc Nation Sports, Manziel spurned Jay Z, Bus Cook and the conventional prime cut of top agents and chose LeBron James' management firm LRMR to handle his marketing.
James prefers to keep his friends and family close. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate the two. Their mutual friend Drake must have put in a good word.
After last season, Manziel told The Dan Patrick Show that James became a mentor of his during the autograph scandal that consumed the latter half of his tumultuous post-Heisman summer.
"Everyone was coming after me, and there was so much criticism," Manziel said. "I feel like LeBron deals with that every single day of his life."
"At the end of the day, (Manziel) is an unbelievable competitor," James told reporters January 9, before the Miami Heat played the New York Knicks. "And we love what he brings to the table as far as being a football player and as far as being a young man that's trying to strive for greatness. So we're just happy to be a friend of his and be able to help him."
But what could LRMR CEO Maverick Carter, James’ St. Vincent St. Mary teammate do for him that Shawn Carter’s clout couldn’t? Maybe we’re looking at this bass ackwards.
In a few months, James may also be facing a pivotal juncture in his career. His five-year contract with the Miami Heat includes a player opt-out clause after the fourth year that will allow James to enter free agency. From all accounts, James plans to exercise that option. Across the league, James is expected to take advantage of it and explore free agency for the second time in his career.
His emotional connection to Akron and nearby Cleveland is driving him to consider doing the unlikely and returning to the downtrodden organization which drafted him.
However, Manziel has his own intentions. In most mock drafts, the Cleveland Browns, holding the fourth overall pick, are perceived to be front runners to start over with Manziel as their quarterback of the future and present.
There will be persistent rumors about the Houston Texans possibly keeping Manziel in-state and drafting Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater, but based on the description of his ideal quarterback, Bill O’Brien would be a fool to ignore the Louisville Slinger.
Manziel is no fool. He's downright Machiavellian James can return to playing pro sports in Cleveland without crawling back to the Cavs.
The ceiling is low for the Cavs organization. They’re probably the most dysfunctional franchise in the league right now. The NFL is structured so that worst to first is a plausible reality for all 32 teams. It’s much more complicated in the NBA.
Manziel follows the reports, and if he does end up in Cleveland, he’d like to end up with James running routes for him in a Browns uniform. It’s not materializing of thin air, either.
On December 30 of this year, James will be turning 30. He may also be the winner of his third straight NBA MVP award. At the same age, Jordan walked away from the game after his third title to discover a new challenge on the baseball diamond. After dominating the game for a decade, James may finally take on a challenge he’s hinted at embarking on for years. After recording 61 receptions for 1,245 yards and 16 touchdowns as a high school junior, a young wide receivers coach named Urban Meyer targeted James as a Notre Dame recruit.
Nike used James’ football background as part of an ad campaign in 2009.
Over the years, James has bulked up considerably and finally resembles a brolic NFL tight end. With the new rules protecting receivers in place, the league might be more attractive than ever for James.
In October, James reiterated his desire to play in at least one NFL game before he retires.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 19, 2013
James’ ambitions are a little more practical than Jordan's. There aren’t many lean 6-6 sluggers in baseball with warning track power, dexterity with the bat and heat to pick off runners on the hot corner.
However, the tight end position has become an oasis for even the most inexperienced of undersized college hoops power forwards like Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas, who like to get physical underneath the basket, but were fringe NBA players.
Not long after James’ tweet, two NFL scouts told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that they believe James would quickly become an All-Pro tight end.
Jordan chose the White Sox organization, which his Bulls boss Jerry Reinsdorf was also the majority owner of.
Jordan Cameron is holding down the No. 1 tight end spot in Cleveland, but two tight end formations have been the base tenet of some of the NFL’s most potent offenses. With Josh Gordon on the outside, and a pair of towing tight ends on each side, the undersized Manziel would have no problem seeing his unlimited options in the pocket.
The Browns have a much stronger supporting class than Kyrie Irving, Dion “The Defense Is Silent” Waiters, Anthony DNP Bennett, Luol Deng’s cap space crater and Mike Brown’s unimaginative offense.
James is already predisposed to mixing business with friendship. It’s also common business practice for athletes and coaches who share representation (see: Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban) to team up with one another.
If FSU’s young LeBron Jameis can prosper as a dual-sport athlete, then the original LeBron James may finally muster up the confidence to pursue his own two sport glory.