Give it away. If I may offer one piece of advice to LeBron James—who in the span of 24 hours last week sold his soles to Nike for $90 million, had $1 million pressed into his palm by Upper Deck and watched, on prime-time television, as the Cleveland Cavaliers wept with gratitude for winning the privilege of enriching him further—it's this: Give your money away.
In less than a week, LeBron, you will graduate from high school with an eight-figure income and a two-figure life span. That life, almost certainly, will be one swift blur—of Swiss banks and Tyra Banks, walk-in humidors and lobster thermidors, English valets and Alpine chalets.
Make no mistake, however. You could live the same life on one-tenth of your income and still ensure that your unborn offspring are never bereft of the Bentleys that are their birthright. How much money can one man spend? Wine-and-gold is the Cavaliers' new color scheme. It should not describe, on a typical night, the entire contents of your mouth. Which is why I suggest you begin giving it away now.
May I remind you, King James, what the King James version of the Bible says? "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." And so the choice is yours. You may live by the principles of faith, hope and charity, or stuff singles in the G-strings of Faith, Hope and Charity. Which will it be?
Excuse this unsolicited advice. But who would know better what's right for you, an 18-year-old African-American with his own shoe, than me, a 36-year-old white sportswriter with a horseshoe (as my hairstyle is sometimes called), O Chosen One?
Settle, incidentally, on one nickname. Are you deity or royalty, the Chosen One or King James? We will pay you homage or pay you taxes, but asking for both is a bit...over the top. So decide: Is that Nike headband, now sutured to your noggin, a terry-cloth halo or a terry-cloth crown?
Of course, the world will worship you as a benevolent god should you become a kind of roundball Robin Hood, robbing corporate America of easy endorsement dollars and giving your take to the less fortunate. (Which is everybody.) So cease putting your nickname on your mouthguard, which could be better festooned with lucrative logos. Why not market Whoppers on your choppers? Sell cheese when you say cheese. Never let a smile be your umbrella when a smile can move umbrellas. (We'll talk to the Totes people, then take their check to a soup kitchen. Or Hell's Kitchen. Or the Kitchener, Ont., public library.)
Mother Teresa With Mad Hops. That's what people will call you, Bron Bron.
Everyone, I realize, is now giving you advice. My advice: Ignore them. Your true friends will love you whether you have $9 million or $90 million, rock Reeboks or rock Nikes, roll a Mercedes or roll a Maserati. They will call you whenever you need a sympathetic ear, for as long as you shall leave them tickets. Indeed, that's why it's called Will Call.
Mercifully, you will never go hungry, even if you should squander $90 million. For you also get, on top of your NBA salary, $150 in cash, every day, for the duration of each road trip, more than enough for a room-service Reuben at the Four Seasons. It's called "walking-around money," and may I suggest you walk around with it: Stuff the bills into a confetti cannon and belch them onto city streets. Festively fling—from a shopping bag—$100 bills wherever crowds gather, as if you're the unholy offspring of Rockefeller (a fellow Clevelander) and Rip Taylor.