NEW YORK — LeBron James speaks often of his love of football and willingness to help younger players. That makes having a relationship with Johnny Manziel a perfect fit.
James said Thursday that he texted the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner often this past season after Manziel’s camp reached out for advice on how to handle intense scrutiny, something the four-time NBA MVP has been dealing with since high school. James was in contact with Manziel before and after the quarterback’s Texas A&M games this fall.
James and Manziel apparently will have plenty more chances to interact in the future. Manziel is entering the NFL draft and is expected to be affiliated with LRMR, the management company operated by James’ close friend, Maverick Carter.
“I think at the end of the day, he’s an unbelievable competitor, and we love what he brings to the table as far as being a football player and as far as being a young man that’s trying to strive for greatness, so we’re just happy we’re able to be a friend of his and be able to help him,” James said before Miami’s game against the Knicks.
Manziel endured a tumultuous offseason after winning college football’s biggest award as a freshman. James offered to be a sounding board, saying a lot of the criticism of Manziel was “overblown.” That turned out to be the beginning of what could become a lucrative partnership in the future between the NBA’s best player and one of football’s most electrifying ones.
“I think he’s not the only college kid that’s ever went to a frat party, or the only college kid that ever had fun, but obviously he’s Johnny Manziel, so it’s blown out of proportion,” James said. “But when the opportunity was brought to me, I basically just told him, if he’s willing to listen, if he’s willing to take my advice, then I’m willing to give it, and he was all for it.
“Throughout this whole season, I would text him weekly before the games, after the games, and I didn’t know it would lead to obviously us being together now as far as business, but I was happy to help him.”