December 23, 2007 in Sports

59-year-old linebacker joins James’ company

Jaime Aron Associated Press
 

The Senior is now part of The King’s court.

Mike Flynt, the 59-year-old grandfather who just finished his long-delayed senior season of college football, is the newest client of LeBron James’ athlete management company.

James and three friends founded LRMR Innovative Marketing & Branding, which handles James’ endorsements. Miami Dolphins rookie Ted Ginn Jr. also is on the company’s roster. Now, so is Flynt, who aims to continue sharing his inspirational story and the message that fitness is important for all ages.

“I’m so excited about being involved with these young guys,” Flynt said. “It’s like being with the teammates I just left. They’re athletic, high-energy, intelligent and innovative.”

James was inspired by Flynt’s determination.

“He didn’t allow anyone to take away the dream he had, no matter how old he was or what he went through,” the Cavaliers’ megastar said. “A man that can go back and play college football after 37 years, that’s a great story. He never gave up on his dream.”

James’ involvement in LRMR and the company’s aims were the subject of a recent cover story in Fortune magazine. The magazine estimated he has about $170 million in sponsorship deals, with Nike and Coca-Cola his biggest endorsers.

Maverick Carter is the firm’s CEO and he’s already begun laying out a plan for Flynt that ranges from fitness products and speaking appearances to a movie, television and books.

“Mike is a normal guy, but he had the will and desire to go back and play college football at 59,” Carter said. “I want those type of people to be around me and my company.”

In 1971, Flynt was a team captain when he was kicked out of Sul Ross State for fighting. He always regretted it and told his former teammates so during a reunion this past summer. One of the guys suggested he try a comeback. He was certainly in good shape, having been a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M, then selling the Powerbase training system he invented.

Once Flynt discovered he had a semester of eligibility left, he earned a spot on his alma mater’s Division III team – even though he was six years shy of Medicare, eight years older than his coach and had a 1 1/2-year-old grandson.

Injuries kept the AARP member off the field the first five games, but he played the final five, mostly as a blocker on field goals and extra-point kicks. He was on the field for the winning kick in overtime in his first game, then he got to play linebacker for the final few minutes of the season finale.

His story drew all sorts of attention to his remote West Texas school. Gov. Rick Perry sent Flynt a letter of congratulations and U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, whose district includes the university, nominated Flynt for a spot on the President’s Council for Physical Fitness.

Carter noticed, too. They got together after the season and bonded quickly. Carter said people might be surprised that Flynt signed with LRMR. To him, that’s a good thing.

“We want to do things that are cool, innovative and different,” Carter said. “This is fun.”

© Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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