LeBron James has decided he no longer needs the guarantee of endorsement money, and has instead focused on ownership in a new innovative pizza chain.

James has decided not to renew his option with McDonald’s, and will lend his name and marketing power to fast-casual pizza franchise Blaze.

In 2012, James became an original 10 percent investor in the parent company, which has grown into a strong player in the pizza game.

Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon published an excerpt of a press release from Thursday featuring a statement from James on his new partnership with Blaze:

Blaze Pizza isn’t your typical pizza chain. Their model is literally changing the future of the fast casual industry altogether. I initially invested in this company because I knew it was a special idea that offered something people would want. Now I’m excited to go all in with Blaze Pizza in this new role and continue to give people a whole new experience.

McDonald’s released this statement:

“We have enjoyed watching LeBron James grow from a McDonald’s All-American to a world-class champion and businessman. We greatly appreciate the exciting experiences and engagement he’s provided McDonald’s customers and his support of Ronald McDonald House Charities over the past several years. While the parties mutually decided to end the relationship, we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

In February, James made a disparaging remark about the fast-food giant when he said “I ate McDonald’s my first couple years in the NBA” to illustrate his point that he didn’t take good care of his body as a rookie.

By Glenn Erby

Shop Now