LeBron James is a hardcore fan of Blaze Pizza. Since ditching McDonald's (MCD) to become a spokesman for the upstart pizza chain last October, the basketball star has amassed a portfolio of 16 Blaze Pizza locations as a franchisee across Chicago and South Florida. James isn't stopping in those regions, however. He has plans to open Blaze Pizza stores in his hometown of Cleveland, OH. Blaze Pizza COO Jim Mizes told TheStreet in an interview. James reportedly owns 10% of Blaze Pizza. But Blaze Pizza is not just a LeBron James story, though the two are now often discussed in the same breath. Sales are expected to reach $200 million this year, up from about $100 million in 2015 and $33 million in 2014 as it continues to open a ton of new locations and benefits from growing customer awareness at pre-existing spots. The company currently has over 150 locations, and intends to boast about 300 by the end of 2017. 

More from Emerging Markets

Closed-End Funds Stage Modest Comeback

Closed-End Funds Stage Modest Comeback

Studying Up on Arco Platform for a Potential Trade

Studying Up on Arco Platform for a Potential Trade

December's Climate Forecast: Stormy Winter Markets

December's Climate Forecast: Stormy Winter Markets

The Most Valuable Nation Brands of 2018

The Most Valuable Nation Brands of 2018

Nasdaq Drops Further Into Correction Territory While Dow Falls Nearly 400 Points

Nasdaq Drops Further Into Correction Territory While Dow Falls Nearly 400 Points