There's been no word on what the two men discussed during their lunch. In fact, other than the report that they actually ate lunch together, we don't really know any particulars of the meeting.
Well, aside from the detail that Buffett donned a full Cleveland Cavaliers uniform during the lunch in Omaha, Neb., and that the jersey said "Buffett" on the back. (No report on whether he was wearing LeBron's No. 23.)
Inquiring minds .
A spokesman for James said that the star has "great respect for Mr. Buffett." According to the Associated Press, last year, LeBron said it was a primary goal of his to become "the richest man in the world." Surely, dining with and seeking advice from one of the richest men in the world -- a self-made man, at that -- will help him in that quest.
Who would be a better mentor, after all, for matters of life, business, and personal finance?
At 21 years of age, James is already one of the best players in professional hoops (as far as all-around play, I'd put him as a close second to Kobe Bryant), and he's locked up in a max deal with Cleveland through 2010. But the prevailing wisdom since the days of Michael Jordan is that the "real money" is in endorsement deals (the NBA's salary cap limits salaries -- no matter your relative talent).
And my, does LeBron have endorsement deals. He signed a $90 million deal with Nike
Shareholders of these companies should be happy that a spokesman for their company wants to create such personal wealth for himself. Logically, after all, if LeBron is making a fortune, it's because he's making other people fortunes, too.
According to an ESPN story, "James' deal with the Powerade and Sprite brands is worth approximately $2 million a year, but there are incentives in his contract that will reward him if it is determined that his endorsement leads to greater sales."
When a powerful and motivated individual's interests are aligned with the owners of the business (i.e., shareholders), that's a powerful thing.
What's in it for Warren?
It's clear what LeBron had to gain from a meeting with Buffett, but Buffett also stands to gain from having such an audience -- and not just because it helps out his street cred. (Hey, Buffett doesn't give away dining invitations to just anyone. Earlier this year, his annual steak dinner for eight brought in $620,100 in an eBay charity auction.)
Remember, Berkshire Hathaway is the largest outside shareholder of Coca-Cola stock. Berkshire owns 200 million shares, or 8.54%, of the company. So if Coca-Cola does well, Berkshire does, too.
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe that was a primary motive of the meeting, but it sure makes a little business sense. And hey, if you're going to eat cheeseburgers with a ridiculously talented basketball player, why not talk a little business while you're at it?
Will there be a direct link between the stock prices of Nike or Coca-Cola and Buffett's lunch with LeBron? It's highly doubtful. But if LeBron is seriously hoping to become the world's richest man, this is a logical first step.
Buffett is one of the wealthiest and most generous men in the world. Even in his 70s, he's a model of hard work. If that's all LeBron takes away from the lunch, that'd be enough for me.
As a rabid Washington Wizards fan (yes, they do exist), Brian Richards was tormented by LeBron James last April and May. Regardless, LeBron has an open invitation to eat cheeseburgers with Brian (and so does Mr. Buffett). Brian can be reached here. He does not own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy is mutually beneficial as well.