Sunday , Jun , 14 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Could Endorsements Lure LeBron James to New York?

This time next year, LeBron James, the undisputed king of pro basketball, will need to decide whether 450 miles is all that separates him from becoming the world’s first billion dollar athlete.

If the answer is yes — and some say it might be — James will likely dump his small-market Cleveland Cavaliers for the bright lights of New York in an effort to transform his immense star power into a global brand that could exceed that even of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

“There’s no question it would be a smart move for LeBron to move to New York because it’s a bigger stage, a bigger market and a bigger opportunity,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University. “If there’s a pro and con, the opportunity is probably bigger than the risk."