LeBron James' favorite Blaze pizza revealed - Exclusive

Basketball legend LeBron James' initial $1 million investment in Blaze in 2012 was a slam-dunk for both the L.A. Laker and the pizza chain; James has made at least $35 million off that cash, while his outpouring of social media love has put Blaze on the map as the fastest growing pizza restaurant in U.S. history (per Forbes). So what does this three-time NBA All-Star MVP consider his MVP — as in, Most Valuable Pizza?

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Blaze founders Rick and Elise Wetzel talked about the toppings their six-foot-nine, 250-pound colleague likes the most on his pie. As Elise Weztel recalled, "We had a lot of fun with the goat cheese he put on it" when they've eaten together. But James has mixed and matched many different pizza combinations over the years. Most famously, he posted on Facebook a Blaze order that contained 16 toppings. LeBron opted for the high-rise crust with spicy red sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and both grilled chicken and turkey meatballs. Veggies included banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, green bell peppers, red onions, spinach, and arugula, and he finished it off with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, sea salt, oregano, and olives. If all of these veggies sound overly health-oriented to you, rest assured that James added a Blaze S'mores pie to his order. The Wetzels got a real kick out of that post, which has been dissected on TV. "He's really supportive of us," Rick Wetzel said.

LeBron is a genuine person, according to Blazes' founders

The Wetzels attribute much of their brand's success to LeBron's genuine passion for their restaurant, recalling how James enthusiastically went from investor to ambassador, deciding not to say "I'm lovin' it" and to exclusively support Blaze Pizza instead. "He had his endorsement deal with McDonald's, and somewhere in there, he decided to exit that deal and they approached us and asked us if we wanted to go all in," Rick Wetzel recalled. "And so I don't want to put words in his mouth and tell you how it all happened from his side, but we were really excited about actually getting an endorsement deal with LeBron." James' involvement with Blaze actually goes beyond investor and ambassador, Rick Wetzel noted. "He's a part owner of some restaurants, he is an active investor and he also has an endorsement deal with us, so he's sort of a three-pronged asset to us," he explained. Elise Wetzel added that James' enthusiasm for Blaze is unscripted, unlike other celebrity endorsements where they might get compensated based on sharing a specific brand message. "We don't tell LeBron what to tweet," she noted. "This is all from his heart... he is the real deal."

According to Rick Wetzel, the warm-hearted, honest personality James exudes on television and on social media is not a facade. "I think he's very sincere. He's exactly what you think he is. What you see is what you get," he said.