LeBron James Not Happy over Beer Company's Usage of Image in Advertising

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 1: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen during the game against the Toronto Raptors in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is upset over Great Lakes Brewing using his likeness in connection with their Dortmunder Gold brew. 

"This is about the last thing I'm trying to worry about right now, my agent and my legal team will take care of it, but yeah I know [Great Lakes] is trying to benefit off of me," James said, per Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon. "And I heard they were the same company that made all those 'Quitness' beers, and now they're trying to benefit off me this way? Yeah, it's pretty funny."

James was alluding to a limited release of "Quitness" ale Great Lakes produced in 2010 after he signed with the Miami Heat.

James inadvertently gave Great Lakes free publicity when he grabbed a bottle of Dortmunder Gold during Cleveland's Game 1 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In a since-deleted tweet, Great Lakes used a photo of LeBron holding the beer to promote a sale for Dortmunder Gold. WKYC in Cleveland shared a photo of the tweet:

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In addition to any personal hostility he may still feel toward Great Lakes, there's a practical reason for LeBron's frustration over the company's advertisement.

As one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, James is selective with whom he chooses to publicly endorse. Vardon spoke to a source close to the four-time NBA MVP who said James would typically command at least $2 million for something similar to Great Lakes' tweet.

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