LeBron James had a rather eventful Saturday night last weekend. Sure, the game-winning shot he hit against the Orlando Magic in the closing seconds was noteworthy -- but that pales in comparison to who he had dinner with.
LeBron posted a casual picture on Instagram(seen below) with the caption:
"Just finished a great dinner with Carlos Slim and his family! Wonderful folks. See u guys again soon #PowerMoves #GoogleHimIfYouDontKnow #ThisGameofBasketballHasOpenedDoorsThatMasterKeysCantOpen #BuffettSlimJames #Big3 #ImThe3rdOptionButIBringTheStyleAndSwag"
Of course, Carlos Slim is the world's second richest man, with an estimated fortune of more than $70 billion, behind only Bill Gates. Slim amassed his fortune thanks to his endless success investing in Mexico throughout the economic contractions in the country during the 1980s. Like Warren Buffett, Slim has a diverse portfolio of holdings, including conglomerate Grupo Carso, mining company Minera Frisco, bank and insurer Grupo Financiero Inbursa, and telecom giant America Movil.
So what on earth could the world's second richest man and one of the most well-known athletes be talking about? Somehave speculated the two were mulling possible investment deals (including a professional soccer team in Miami), philanthropic considerations, or perhaps something altogether different.
However a Forbes article noted; "Arturo Elias Ayub, Slim's spokesperson and son-in-law, said by email: 'It was simply a dinner between two friends after the game,'" which, while it doesn't put an end to the rumors, it certainly makes it seem like it was merely a casual meeting.
But I believe the real insight is the key lies in the fourth hashtag LeBron uses:
Albert Einstein once said; "You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else." And LeBron is clearly attempting to learn the rules of investing and business from some of the greats who came before him.
Consider that this isn't the first time LeBron has been spotted with notable investors, as earlier this year LeBron released a video of a 2008 dinner that included Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. A 2012 Miami Herald article noted that Buffett once said of James:
You have to get to know him. LeBron's not initially really talkative. He's savvy. He's smart about financial matters. It's amazing to me the maturity he exhibits. I know that if I had been famous at that age, I would have had trouble keeping my feet on the ground.
In his most recent meeting with Carlos Slim, it would be easy to fanaticize that LeBron is making some sort of flashy deal that will garner headlines, but he likely was simply continuing to broaden his perspective and learn from one of the best businessmen to ever walk the planet.
LeBron once told The Wall Street Journal, "The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman," and he's also said, "you know, God gave me a gift to do other things besides play the game of basketball."
And it is here we can see that LeBron is truly attempting to differentiate himself from some of the sporting greats that came before him. While Michael Jordan has been immensely successful off the court, in his later years, he's been more known for his unending stream of quips about current stars and how he is better than them. Seemingly, Michael cannot let the game go.
While LeBron is by all accounts the best basketball player on the planet, he is leveraging his ability to prepare him for life beyond basketball. In meeting with Slim and Buffett and whoever else he can get an audience with, he is doing something we all should, which is learning from those who set the stage before us. Just as LeBron has learned post-moves from fellow NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, he is garnering wisdom from some of the greatest businessmen alive.
It's clear LeBron has his sight set beyond the game of basketball. While he is on top of the league now, and is likely to remain there for some time, he seemingly has a keen understanding that when he unlaces his Nikes for the last time, it will not be the end of his career, but perhaps just the beginning.