LeBron James Is Spending His Offseason Developing TV Shows

LeBron James
LeBron James takes in the Los Angeles Raiders home opener. Less than a week later, he would sell his second TV show to NBC in as many weeks. USA Today Sports via Reuters

Now that he has conquered the game of basketball, LeBron James is shifting a portion of his focus to the world of entertainment. On Thursday, Deadline reported that that the four-time NBA MVP has teamed up with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence to produce a single-camera sitcom called There Goes the Neighborhood, which was just given a script commitment by NBC. The show will be based in James's home of Cleveland, and center on the first white family to move into a black neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Sounds promising.

But this isn't even the first time this month that James has landed a television deal. On September 9, The Hollywood Reporter revealed he is prepping a medical drama for NBC, which is a bizarre news item to come across if you aren't familiar with James's off-the-court ambitions. The untitled project will focus on a doctor who treats athletes that must enlist the help of a sports psychologist after suffering a health-related setback of his own.

Both projects come by way of James's SpringHill Productions, which he co-founded with longtime business partner and confidant Maverick Carter. In addition to the forthcoming family sitcom and medical drama, SpringHill is responsible for a Starz comedy called Survivor's Remorse, a CNBC reality show called Cleveland Hustles and a quiz-based, Chris Hardwick-hosted game show called The Wall, which is coming soon to NBC.

The biggest of SpringHill's current or future projects, though, is Space Jam 2, which took flight last July when James and Carter agreed to a deal with Warner Bros., who produced the 1996 original starring Michael Jordan. In May, the sequel landed a director in Justin Lin, known primarily for his work on the Fast and the Furious franchise. James will of course fill the role Jordan held in the original. Though he may never be able to match his idol's achievements on the court, he might have already surpassed him on the screen. James's performance as Bill Hader's best friend in the 2015 comedy Trainwreck was a revelation.

SpringHill's aggressive foray into the entertainment industry marks the most ambitious off-the-court play we've ever seen from an athlete of James's stature. Yes, Jordan has made hundreds of millions endorsing products, starring in Space Jam and presiding over a sneaker empire, but these ventures were all tethered to basketball. Developing a family sitcom for NBC is not, and now that he has secured his NBA legacy by bringing a title back to Cleveland, there's no reason to think James won't continue to expand his reach. There's no telling what will be possible when he actually retires from basketball. For now, though, he is expected to play forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016–2017 NBA season.