LeBron James fires agent, 3 friends to take over

Sports agent Aaron Goodwin helped negotiate $135 million US in endorsement deals for NBA star LeBron James over the past two years.

LeBron James has terminated his relationship with agent Aaron Goodwin, the man who made him one of the richest athletes in North America.

James, considered the NBA's biggest young star, sent a letter to the players' association on Monday informing them he had ended his relationship with Goodwin, union spokesman Dan Wasserman said.

The all-star guard with the Cleveland Cavaliers is expected to turn over his management duties to three close friends.

The decision to drop Goodwin is a bit surprising, as the agent has negotiated over $135 million US in endorsement deals for the 20-year-old ball player since he was chosen No. 1 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The biggest of those deals was arguably a $90 million contract from Nike on the eve of the draft lottery, which was the richest initial shoe contract offered to an athlete.

Goodwin also helped James land multimillion deals with Upper Deck, Coca-Cola, Bubbilicous and Juice Batteries.

It's anticipated that James's close friend Maverick Carter, a former teammate at Akron, Ohio's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School who currently is employed by Nike, will take over some of the management duties.

Two other friends, Randy Mihms and Rich Paul, will also be on James's payroll.

Mihms currently serves as James's personal assistant and road manager and Paul is a "close confidant." According to Associated Press, James and his three longtime friends call themselves the "Four Horsemen."

Goodwin, who also represents Portland guard Damon Stoudamire, Orlando rookie Dwight Howard, Boston guard Gary Payton and Knicks guard Jamal Crawford, formed a relationship with James in the player's senior year of high school.

James is currently the fourth-highest-paid athlete endorser in the world. Only golfer Tiger Woods ($90 million per year), Formula One driver Michael Schumacher ($50 million) and soccer star David Beckham ($35 million) are paid more outside of their respective sports.