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A topical look at the changing world of celebrity endorsements

Basketball superstar LeBron James has long been considered by many hoop aficionados and commentators of the game as the greatest player on earth.

Where LeBron is involved, people pay attention.

And when LeBron speaks (seemingly on any topic), they listen and cameras begin to roll.

So, it instantly became news recently when James aired some comments about his employer, duly noting his respect and spouting some superlatives.

"I believe in their vision," he said. "I believe in what they're all about [and] the authenticity of how … they run their business."

What might have induced a double take for many listeners was their sudden realization that LeBron's statements had nothing to do with the management group owning the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.

Rather, they were kudos spilled out for a pizza chain.

And what Lebron eats -- purportedly or in fact -- is very important information to millions of people.

What the so-called "King" has apparently cultivated a distaste for is food from the fast-food colossus McDonald's, a company James has enthusiastically endorsed for years.

That's now changing, with James stating recently that he will no longer endorse the industry giant, being far more enamored with a company called Blaze.

As noted in one article discussing James' recent declaration, his loyalty transfer "could signal a shift in celebrity endorsement culture" based on high-profile figures' desire to avoid association with "transparently half-hearted endorsement partnerships."

You see, few people truly people that that the King survives his grueling hoops schedule by routinely chowing down on Big Macs.

Pizza? Well, the notion might go down differently with people willing to be influenced by James' new association, especially when he is linking up with a company stressing healthy eating and fresh ingredients.

The King's various business deals unrelated to basketball underscore how important and lucrative endorsements can be for a widely known entertainment figure.

Indeed, while legions of fans know LeBron James for his sports-related exploits, high numbers of people are likely just as familiar with him through his television and social media endorsements of various services and products.

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