Sports

LeBron James: Basketball player, businessman and now author

Key Points
  • The LeBron James Family Foundation has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins Publishers.
  • The debut book, I Promise, will be published on Aug. 11.
  • The picture book is based on the principles of his foundation's program in Akron, Ohio.
"I Promise" children's book by LeBron James.

LeBron James' business empire continues to grow.

On Monday, the three-time NBA champion announced that his foundation has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins Publishers. James will author his first book, I Promise, a picture book that publishes in the U.S. on Aug. 11.

"Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together. That's why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me," said James, who is a father to three children.

The book is illustrated by New York Times bestselling illustrator Nina Mata. A second book, targeted to middle-school students, will follow a year later.

The four-time MVP said his picture book was inspired by the values and initiatives of his foundation's I Promise program in Akron, Ohio.

The LeBron James Family Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide educational resources to the kids of Akron, James' hometown. The I PROMISE program has 1,400 total students, including 343 students in grades 3-5 who attend a public elementary school supported by James. Last week, the foundation announced that their oldest students in grades 6-11 will be eligible to receive a full scholarship to Kent State University.

LeBron James #2 of Team LeBron celebrates after beating Team Giannis during the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Stacy Revere | Getty Images

James' deal with HarperCollins adds to his growing portfolio, which includes entertainment company SpringHill Entertainment. SpringHill is the company behind NBC's "The Wall," Showtime's "Shut up and Dribble," and HBO's movie "Student Athlete," among others.

There's also his media company Uninterrupted, which he started with his friend and business partner Maverick Carter in 2014. The multimedia company produces series, podcasts and documentaries, including HBO's "The Shop."

Outside Hollywood, James has a diverse range of investments. He was an early investor in Beats By Dre, earning him a reported $30 million when the company was bought by Apple in 2014. He was also an early investor in the fast-growing Blaze Pizza chain. The Lakers star bought an ownership stake in a professional soccer team, Liverpool FC, in 2011. He even has a health and wellness company, Ladder, that provides sports supplements for athletes.

In his latest venture, James said he hopes his books will help kids everywhere work toward a better future. The keys to this are excelling in school, doing your best and keeping your family close, he said.

"Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in," he said.

Disclosure: LeBron James and SpringHill Entertainment's reality TV series "Cleveland Hustles" aired on CNBC in 2016. CNBC is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal.