The Senior is now part of The King's court.
Mike Flynt, the 59-year-old grandfather who just finished his
long-delayed senior season of college football, is the newest
client of LeBron James' athlete management company.
James and three friends founded LRMR Innovative Marketing &
Branding, which handles James' endorsements. Miami Dolphins rookie
Ted Ginn Jr. also is on the company's roster. And now, so is Flynt,
who aims to continue sharing his inspirational story and the
message that fitness is important for all ages.
"I'm so excited about being involved with these young guys,"
Flynt said. "It's like being with the teammates I just left.
They're athletic, high-energy, intelligent and innovative."
James was inspired by Flynt's determination.
"He didn't allow anyone to take away the dream he had, no
matter how old he was or what he went through," the Cavaliers'
megastar said. "A man that can go back and play college football
after 37 years, that's a great story. He never gave up on his
James' involvement in LRMR and the company's aims were the
subject of a recent cover story in Fortune magazine. The magazine
estimated he has about $170 million in sponsorship deals, with Nike
and Coca-Cola his biggest endorsers.
Maverick Carter is the firm's CEO and he's already begun laying
out a plan for Flynt that ranges from fitness products and speaking
appearances to a movie, television and books.
"Mike is a normal guy, but he had the will and desire to go
back and play college football at 59," Carter said. "I want those
type of people to be around me and my company."
In 1971, Flynt was a team captain when he was kicked out of Sul
Ross State for fighting. He always regretted it and told his former
teammates so during a reunion this past summer. One of the guys
suggested he try a comeback. He was certainly in good shape, having
been a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon and
Texas A&M, then selling the Powerbase training system he invented.
Once Flynt discovered he had a semester of eligibility left, he
earned a spot on his alma mater's Division III team - even though
he was six years shy of Medicare, eight years older than his coach
and had a 1½-year-old grandson.
Injuries kept the AARP member off the field the first five
games, but he played the final five, mostly as a blocker on field
goals and extra point kicks. He was on the field for the winning
kick in overtime in his first game, then he got to play linebacker
for the final few minutes of the season finale.
His story drew all sorts of attention to his remote West Texas
school. Gov. Rick Perry sent Flynt a letter of congratulations and
U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, whose district includes the university,
nominated Flynt for a spot on the President's Council for Physical
Carter noticed, too. They got together after the season and
bonded quickly. In addition to sharing business goals, they
discovered they had a lot more in common.
"The story is how he was raised," Carter said. "His father
was military and that mindset led him to that day when he was
kicked off the team. He realized he had to grow up and change that.
It's similar to kids who come from urban America, inner-city, where
the environment is such that it kind of puts you behind. ... LeBron
grew up in the same type of environment and he changed that. He had
the willpower to go change, to learn and do things in a different
Carter said people might be surprised that Flynt signed with
LRMR. To him, that's a good thing.
"We want to do things that are cool, innovative and
different," Carter said. "This is fun."