What do Beaverton, Ore., Omaha, Neb., Redmond, Wash., and Wichita, Kan., have in common with Cleveland and Akron?
None are considered major markets and all are home to some of the largest household names in the world respectively, Nike, Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft, Koch Industries and LeBron James.
Location, apparently, hasn’t hurt any of their success, and it shouldn’t hinder James’ ability to cash in on his abilities or business acumen either.
No matter how you try to argue against it, success in the corporate world is not dictated by your company’s address but rather by such factors as the quality of your product, the cost to produce it, and your ability to market and sell it to a targeted audience.
The same holds true for James, who at age 23 is the NBA’s top earner.
Last year, including endorsement deals and business investments, he earned an estimated $25 million.
Despite this, the national media continues to scream that when James’ contract with the Cavs is up in 2010, it will be in his best interest to pack up his sneakers and his LRMR Marketing organization and settle down in a major metropolitan media market, such as New York City or Los Angeles.
The false logic in these continued suggestions by would-be experts continues to amaze me.
First, let’s use James’ own assertion to Fortune that, “I want to run my own business. I want to be my own business.”
If that’s the case, then his success should hinge upon traditional business factors rather than the usual sports arguments that unless you play ball in a major media market where the spotlight of the world is upon you, the personal cash registers won’t ring and the championships won’t come. But it’s been six years since Los Angeles won the NBA Finals and 25 since New York’s players earned championship rings.
Second, the reality of location has changed dramatically over the years. We live in a digital, virtual and on-demand world. Where James plays just like where a company’s corporate headquarters is located doesn’t really matter.
As we enter the new year, it’s time for the national media to wake up and drop its antiquated argument and recognize that there’s a reason why every major company’s HQ isn’t in New York or Los Angeles: It doesn’t need to be. And neither does LeBron James.
Contact Editor Dustin Klein at email@example.com