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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 28, 2010

NBA: LeBron James teams with McDonald's

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND LeBron James is now shooting with a Golden Arch.

The NBA superstar has agreed to a multiyear partnership with McDonald's Corp., adding the global fast-food giant to his list of corporate sponsors.

Financial terms were not immediately known.

James will support several McDonald's programs and promotions as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides housing to the families of seriously ill children. He has already filmed his first commercial with McDonald's. It will debut during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

James, a six-time All-Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reigning league MVP, has other partnerships with Nike, State Farm and Coca-Cola.

"McDonald's and I make a great team," James said. "We share many of the same core values, including a commitment to excellence and giving back to the community. I am also excited about the opportunity to work with Ronald McDonald House Charities, which helps improve the lives of so many children and their families around the world."

Beyond his involvement in charity work with the company, James will be part of TV, print and online advertising campaigns for McDonald's, which operates over 31,000 restaurants in 119 countries.

Maverick Carter, James' business partner and CEO of LRMR Marketing, said the pairing of James and McDonald's was a "a perfect fit."

"McDonald's is one of the best known and most recognizable brands in the world," Carter said. "LeBron couldn't ask for a better partner and for him to be involved with such a company says a lot about where he is in his career."

Carter said James had "on-and-off" talks with McDonald's over the past four years.

In March, James will lend his support to the McDonald's All-American high school games in Columbus, Ohio. Proceeds of the event will go to Ronald McDonald House charities in Central Ohio. James was named MVP of the game when it was held in Cleveland in 2003.

James, who has two young boys, fits McDonald's wholesome image and his worldwide popularity makes him an ideal ambassador for the company.

"LeBron is an All-Star, both on the court and in the community," said Neil Golden, McDonald's USA chief marketing officer. "We're looking forward to working with LeBron to showcase our brand in surprising ways while also raising awareness of and support for Ronald McDonald House Charities."

James filmed the commercial this month for McDonald's, a spot that will also feature Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard and Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. Howard recently signed a three-year deal with McDonald's worth a reported $3 million per year.

Filmed at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the commercial is a take-off on the famous "The Showdown" ad that Bird made with Michael Jordan. In that commercial, which first aired during the 1993 Super Bowl, the Hall of Famers engaged in a game of H-O-R-S-E with the winner getting a Big Mac. Bird and Jordan traded imaginary trick shots the final one off a skyscraper's roof top which had to be sunk with "nothin' but net."

James has made previous Super Bowl ads for Bubblicious and State Farm.

Carter said Steve Stoute, founder of New York-based Translation Advertising, played a key role in bringing together McDonald's and James.