Is LeBron James the King of Marketing?

LeBron James is going to announce which team he plans on signing with in a 1-hour, ESPN special airing this Thursday at 8pm Central time. Along with the announcement, he wants to sell commercial airtime for the special. His share of the proceeds is going to the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Whether you agree with it or not (and, given the charity angle, it’s hard to completely disagree), it’s a damn clever move. There was a time when players were just drafted, traded, and retired. But, sports has surely learned to sell the hell out of its byproducts.

The NBA, NFL, and NHL drafts are multi-day spectacles on cable. Fantasy football makes the last-place Raiders vs. the last-place Rams a pay-per-view event. And now LeBron James’ announcement that he’s moving to play for the Greek national team (you heard it here first) will help pave the way for thousands of potential, future LeBrons.