Less than a year after he disparaged McDonald’s food in a moment of unexpected candor, NBA star LeBron James has split from the burger giant and signed an endorsement deal with Blaze Pizza.
James, 30, inked a deal with McDonald’s in 2010 but hasn’t appeared in any of its ads since he told reporters in February that he’d gotten in shape by eliminating McDonald’s from his diet.
Asked when he got serious about working out, James admitted it wasn’t until he was 24. “I ate McDonald’s my first couple of years in the NBA. I didn’t stretch, I didn’t ice, it didn’t matter,” he said.
Later in that February interview with reporters, a smiling James attempted to recover, prompting laughter when he said he ate at McDonald’s, “Every day — I just had it this morning!”
McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb praised James as a “world-class champion and businessman” but said in an email Friday that James and McDonald’s “mutually decided to end the relationship,” adding “we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
James’ endorsement deal with Blaze Pizza, announced Thursday, isn’t his first involvement with the Pasadena, Calif.-based firm, which now operates in 22 states. He’s been an investor in the casual dining chain since 2012 and has a share in its franchises in Miami and at three Chicago locations.
In a statement, the firm’s co-founder, Rick Wetzel, said James “embodies everything Blaze Pizza stands for. In everything he does, he is totally authentic and unique.”