CLEVELAND—In the latest in a slew of recent exclusive deals, LeBron James has shocked the basketball community by passing up lucrative offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls to sign an exclusive 5-year contract with comic book publisher DC Comics.
James had been courted by a number of publishers since becoming a free agent last week, with Marvel Comics offering James full control of the Avengers and X-Men franchises and Image Comics proposing a trade for Robert Kirkman. Ultimately, it was the allure of the Green Lantern Corps that found James a home at DC.
"There were a lot of teams I could sign with to finally get a championship ring, but in the end, the only one place i could go to get a Power Ring was at DC Comics," said James in a live press conference held at Carol and John's Comics. "I think I've shown that willpower won't be a problem for me, either."
This signing marks the third in as many weeks for DC Comics, home of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, following on the heels of Paul Cornell and Jeff Lemire as they too joined the ranks of DC-exclusive creators. DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee jointly issued a statement on welcoming James to their team: "We couldn't be more thrilled to add such a great talent as LeBron to the center of our roster. We expect the hard work and leadership he showed on the basketball court to be a natural fit in writing and drawing the exploits of the world's greatest superheroes."
Speculation last week had James signing with DC's chief competitor Marvel Comics after Uncanny X-Men writer Matt Fraction announced over Twitter that "LeBron has signed with the X-Men," although it appears now that scoop was slightly premature.
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose found the signing particularly vexing, but noted the cable sports network would continue to provide round-the-clock coverage of James, including late-night Booster Gold writing sessions, and LeBron's appearance at Comic-Con International in San Diego later this month.
"We are in the LeBron James business, whether he's sinking threes or revising layouts on a Justice League Europe relaunch," said Rose. "I mean the guy is a triple threat; he writes, draws, and letters all his own work. You don't seem many guys coming to a big publisher with those kind of skills without honing their craft in the NCAA."
President Obama, a noted Spider-Man fan, was disappointed that James chose the "Distinguished Competition" over the "House of Ideas."
"I think the president believed [LeBron] was more of a 'Marvel guy,' and had hoped they might have the opportunity to 'team-up' in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. The White House confirmed the President was now in talks with newly signed Chicago Bull forward Carlos Boozer regarding a Heroes For Hire pitch he has been kicking around the Oval Office.
In other exclusive news, James' own mother, Gloria James, and former Cavaliers teammate Delonte West have both signed 2-year exclusive contracts with Top Cow.