LeBron supports Johnny Manziel


NEW YORK -- LeBron James has been mentoring Johnny Manziel for months and soon hopes to formalize a business alliance with the star quarterback.

Earlier this week, ESPN reported Manziel had chosen to sign with James' marketing company, LRMR. On Thursday, James said he didn't know if the deal was official but said he was looking forward to working with Manziel.

Manziel said in a recent interview that he sought out James' advice last summer when he was being investigated by the NCAA this summer for signing autographs for memorabilia brokers.

"We're happy we're able to be a friend of his and be able to help," James said before the Miami Heat played the New York Knicks on Thursday night. "He reached out to me when he was going through a lot of off-the-field things that I didn't really -- that I thought it was just overblown. He's not the only kid who went to a college frat party or the only college kid to have fun. But obviously he's Johnny Manziel, so it is blown out of proportion."

James said he routinely sent text messages to Manziel before and after Texas A&M games to offer encouragement to the QB. Manziel recently spent time in Miami before he made his decision to enter the NFL draft and was seen sitting courtside at a Heat- Golden State Warriors game last week.

LRMR is run by James' friend and business partner Maverick Carter, who has close ties with Nike and has negotiated numerous marketing deals for James in the past nine years.

"When the opportunity was brought to me, I just told him if he's willing to listen to my advice, I was willing to give it," James said. "I was texting him weekly, before the games and after the games. I didn't know it would lead to us being together with business, but I was happy to help."