Michigan adds 8,955 cases, 40 deaths from COVID-19

Thursday’s roundup: James inks deal with Warner Bros.

Detroit News wire services

LeBron James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is teaming up with Warner Bros. Entertainment to bring original content to a number of platforms, which will include television, movies and digital content.

“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said in a statement. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere.”

After the Twitterverse absorbed news of the announcement, James tweeted: “Let’s go! So excited” to his millions of followers.

It would seem James is setting himself up for life beyond basketball and although it may well involve other interests, following a path created by other athletes after retirement makes sense given his recent success on the screen.

James appears in “Trainwreck” with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. The film debuted as the No. 1 comedy in the United States with more than $30 million at the box office last weekend. Although James wasn’t the top-line star, he generally stole every scene in which he appeared, and has received rave reviews.

Given his status as the reigning basketball player on the planet, it wouldn’t be shocking for James, who showed impeccable comedic instincts in “Trainwreck,” to tackle a remake of a Michael Jordan film, “Space Jam,” as part of the deal. That film paired Jordan with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other Looney Tunes characters and grossed $90 million in the U.S., according to IMDB.com.

That’s an obvious project for James as a performer and producer — his company already produces “Survivor’s Remorse” for cable channel Starz.

If he wants to focus on acting, he could take a look at the blueprint provided by former pro wrestler and University of Miami football player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He has evolved from screen presence to actor since his first leading role in a theatrical film, “The Scorpion King.”

Powered by Pistons

The Pistons are opening a performing arts center to offer training in dance, cheer and gymnastics.

Team officials announced the Pistons Performing Arts Center in Rochester Hills will be for those in the Detroit area who are interested in training under Pistons Entertainment programs.

The Pistons PAC is partnering with the Michigan Center for Sports & Academics to be the training center for the Dance Team, D-Town, Cheer Team, Flight Crew and Drumline.

To become a Pistons PAC member, youth and adult programs are available for those who want to develop their dance, cheer and gymnastic skills while being coached by members of the Pistons entertainment teams.

Slam dunks

The Cavaliers traded second-round pick Rakeem Christmas to the Pacers for a second-round selection in 2019.

The Cavaliers selected Christmas, who averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebound as a senior at Syracuse, with the No. 36 overall pick last month. He appeared in four Summer League games in Las Vegas, averaging 8.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 20.9 minutes.

Pacers President Larry Bird said the team liked the 6-foot-9 Christmas when he worked out for them before the draft.

The Pacers acquired the second-round pick in their trade with the Lakers for center Roy Hibbert.

... The Kings signed forward Caron Butler to a two-year deal worth $3 million, with a player option the second season.

... The Mavericks signed free-agent rookie forward Maurice Ndour. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Associated Press contributed