Maverick Carter is a longtime friend, associate and business partner of LeBron James, the ex-Heat forward who recently announced his decision to return to the team that drafted him, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He joined ESPN’s Jason Whitlock on a podcast and discussed the decision, rumors on James’ degrading relationship with the Heat and how the athlete and his “inner circle” feel they have a greater mission that extends beyond just basketball.
When asked if he or other close friends such as James’ agent Rich Paul forced James to return to Cleveland, Carter responded:
“It was a decision that he wanted to make in his heart, that he wanted to do. He wanted to go play in Cleveland because of reasons bigger than basketball.”
Carter added, “We don’t push him to do anything. We help him think through (decisions)…A guy like that, you can’t push him.”
Whitlock asked if, now that time has passed, how James views the media storm and response caused by his choice. Carter responded that, “He feels great about it. He feels really good. He’s gonna play his heart out.”
Among the other topics discussed during the interview:
- How much James’ first televised announcement (“The Decision”) affected how the news would be made public knowledge
- Carter discussed the “secret” meeting with James and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert days before the public announcment
- On James far-reaching influence, beyond just wanting to be the greatest basketball player ever but a positive role-model
- If Dwyane Wade knew of the decision before it was made public and if his friendship with James will continue now they are on opposing teams
Carter also addressed rumors that James circle of close friends may have been granted less privileges in Miami than they did in Cleveland. Stories have come out indicating that Heat president Pat Riley wanted James to focus more on basketball and did not allow Carter, Paul and others to be as involved with the organization as they might have liked.
But Carter shot this idea down, saying the “Heat are a first-class organization” and that he had a great relationship with “Pat, (owner) Micky (Arison) and Nick (Arison, team vice president).”
Check out Heat vs. Cavs tickets once the schedule is released to see LeBron return to Miami.