Jim Cramer always has his eye out for the next big idea, especially privately-held companies making big waves in their industry. His attention recently turned to Blaze Pizza, backed by basketball superstar LeBron James.
In 2015, James decided not to renew his deal with McDonald's and instead endorsed Blaze Pizza. In an interview on "Mad Money," Blaze's Chief Operating Officer Jim Mizes chronicled the evolution of James's involvement with the company from investor to spokesperson and now a franchisee partnered with Larry Levy.
"He saw what Blaze Pizza and what this category could be, so he started as an investor, and then became a franchisee … And then he was so into Blaze that he came all in," Mizes said.
Blaze was the fastest growing restaurant chain in 2015, as it exploded from 50 locations in 2014 to its current 150 locations. It plans to expand nationwide to 350 locations by 2020.