Lebron James make a pretty penny from McDonald’s through his endorsement deal with the global company but he is banking on himself even more. Bron decided to end the lucrative deal with Mickey D’s early so he can put his focus and his brand behind a pizza chain he has ownership stock in.


McDonald’s wasn’t going to last as a team with Lebron for much longer anyway, considering how he said eating from the restaurant was an unhealthy habit that he kicked after a few years in the league.

James got in on the ground floor of Blaze Pizza in 2012 ( Darren Rovell of ESPN reported he owns more than 10 percent of the company), but most fans never knew about it because of his standing arrangement with McDonald’s, which reportedly forbade James from associating his name or likeness with any other chain restaurants.

Together with Larry Levy of Levy Restaurants and his business manager, Maverick Carter, James locked up franchise rights in Miami and Chicago, which is still separate from the overall 10% he owns of the company overall.

“This move aligns with LeBron’s brand and his history of helping companies grow faster and bigger as an equity partner,” Carter said.

The company currently has 88 locations. Founder Rick Wetzel said the brand will open up a restaurant once every four days, which will allow Blaze to have more than 200 locations by next year. The company has sold the franchise rights to the entire United States to 44 groups, including the rights in Kentucky, Tennessee and part of Florida to former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, who already owns more than 100 Wendy’s and 100 Chili’s restaurants. The average all-in price for a single location is around $660,000, Wetzel said.