There have been plenty of "pinch me" moments for LeBron James and his buddies-turned-business partners as they've gone from kids growing up in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio to living the good life.
James has brought childhood friends Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Rich Paul along for the ride as he has crossed over from basketball phenom to renaissance man, experiencing success in everything from acting to investing.
And now his pals are starting to experience acclaim of their own.
Carter was a guest speaker at the Harvard Business School on Tuesday to share the story behind LRMR, the firm that James established with his friends in 2005 to manage all the marketing and business opportunities that came his way.
Illustrating how James' crew supports one another to this day, after Carter posted a photo speaking to the Harvard students on his Twitter account, Mims and James posted a collage of photos depicting Carter playing professor to their respective Instagram accounts.
"I think it's pretty cool the professors there would even allow Maverick and allow us to use our case study for their students," James said Wednesday, alluding to the case study that Harvard professors Anita Elberse and Jeff McCall published in 2009 about James and his friends' business venture. "To be at Harvard and to be very respected there, it's a true definition of continuing to learn over the years, continue to push the envelope, push the boundaries of what we can do not only on the floor but off the floor."
When James fired agent Aaron Goodwin in 2005 and subsequently established LRMR, there were plenty of naysayers. James heard the same criticism in 2012 when he parted ways with agent Leon Rose and put Paul in place as his primary representative.
Meanwhile, James has nothing but praise for the way his friends, and Carter in particular, have managed his career.
"I think he's handled it the best way he could handle a situation like this," James said. "It's a rare case of me being the person I am both basketball player and off the floor. We've all learned, we've had bumps and bruises along the way, but it has only made us stronger and made us who we are today.
"About 12 years ago when I decided to part ways with my agent, there were 150 million articles about how I was making a mistake to hire the people around me that I trusted -- Maverick, Rich and Randy -- and start LRMR and how everything would fall to pieces. Those pieces have made a beautiful portrait at this point."