Compared to Jones, James was a true sports star, a rich super star. James paid $1,500,000. However, it was still painful for him to pay such a large amount of money. As he was writing the check, his hands trembled slightly.
It was obviously painful.
Li Du understood the situation, but he acted as if he had no idea about it. Regarding those sneakers, he had done enough. He could not make any further concessions. Business relationships should not be mixed with friendships. He had made a slight concession as a symbol of kindness in order to gain James’ friendship. If he made further concessions, he would be perceived as weak and gullible.
In addition, he had worked hard for a couple days to obtain those sneakers. He even had conflicts with the treasure hunters in Indianapolis. He had paid the price. If it was not because of the money, then what was his intention? In fact, he had not made any profit from this transaction. This business belonged to both Hans and himself. The profit would be shared equally between the two of them.
Li Du had lowered the price to $1,500,000. This left them with only $400,000. He decided to give up his share and give all $400,000 to Hans. It could be seen that he had given up his share to gain James’ friendship. Therefore, he had done enough and could not make any further concessions. How could he allow Hans to bear the cost?
James was also a gentleman with complete integrity. Aside from the money, he also gave Li Du some tickets to upcoming basketball games. Among these tickets, ten of them were for the games between the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns for the next season. The rest of the tickets were for other Miami Heat games. The seats were very good. Some were front row seats. This type of ticket was not even for sale. They could only be obtained by team members.
Once the two trucks with the sneakers arrived in Phoenix, they had to hit the road once again.
Upon leaving, Li Du laughed. “Mr. Jones, don’t forget to pay the rental fee next time.”
Jones felt melancholy as he heard it. His face turned gloomy. “Thanks! I will never forget to again, d*mn it! I will continue to sue the Pacers Storage Company. I had only failed to pay the rental fee of few hundred dollars. They actually went as far as to auction off my $2,000,000 worth of items!”
Li Du gave him words of comfort. “In life, there are always going to be hardships and difficult situations. I hope you will win. They really went too far.”
Jones said angrily, “I rented a unit at their storage company because of their connection with my team. I knew now that I am with the Dallas Mavericks, the Indiana Pacers would be resentful, but I was traded as an exchange. God, d*mn it! I am the victim here!”
James patted his shoulders. “Let the lawyers deal with this. There is no point in getting angry.”
He turned back and waved at Li Du. “Goodbye, my friend. It was a pleasure to meet you. I do hope you can make it to our game. It will be a great one, I swear. Next season, we are going to beat all the league teams!”
Two days later, Li Du attended another auction in Phoenix. He did not find anything interesting. There were no valuable items in this auction. They could only collect a few small things.
Hans and Lu Guan were making an inventory of these items. Li Du was sitting at a side table while having a chat with a classmate. At this moment, Cole gave him a call. Li Du felt puzzled and answered, “Hello, my friend. What’s up?”
Cole laughed. “Check your mailbox later. I’ve sent you an invitation for an annual meeting. See if you can make it. Come to New York if you are available.”
Li Du was shocked. “Annual meeting? Isn’t the annual meeting supposed to be in January?” At that time, he was preparing to celebrate the Chinese New Year in China. Even though he was invited, he was unable to attend.
Cole replied, “We have it twice a year. Once every six months. You better make it this time. Let me introduce some of the shareholders and influential clients to you.”
Li Du said, “Yes, of course. I should be able to make it. I do not have any plans during that period of time.” As the fifth biggest shareholder of Harry Winston Inc., he should be attending the annual meeting.
Cole said, “I am welcoming you now in advance. When you are here, I’ll introduce a guy to you. The two of you have had a minor conflict. Of course, it was nothing major.”
Li Du felt puzzled. “Conflict? Who is it?”
Cole burst into laughter. “It’s nothing major. Allow me to be mysterious.”
After that, they had a casual chat. As Li Du was preparing to hang up, he spontaneously asked, “Did you invite my friend, Steve Tussenberg? I spoke to him yesterday, but he did not mention this.”
Cole answered, “Of course, we did. How could we neglect a family member of the Vanderbilts’? But we don’t know if he will to us the honor of attending. Stephen seldom makes an appearance in public.”
Li Du had achieved his goal. He heard a keyword, Vanderbilts. This had revealed Stephen’s identity.
He hung up and asked Hans, “Vanderbilts. Have you heard of this family?”
Hans laughed. “I sure have. Americans know about them. In 2007, Forbes listed the top 15 richest Americans in history. The founder, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was ranked third, preceded only by John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie…”
Li Du was interested and asked, “Tell me everything you know.”
Hans felt strange. “Why do you ask? Look it up online. There is more information about them on the internet. I only know general information about them. This family always maintains a low profile. It is said that they are no longer glorious.”
As he finished speaking, Brother Wolf shook his head.
Li Du noticed it and asked, “Do you know this family?”
Brother Wolf nodded. “I met them once. At that time, they were visiting Munich. The national finance minister, the mayor of Munich, and other representatives accompanied them personally. I was part of the security team at the time.”
Li Du understood his reaction now. This family was definitely not like how Hans had described them. Otherwise, the German government would not have held them in high regard.
He had heard of this family. He saw them on the news but only had a vague impression of them. He remembered them as a magnate in the transportation industry. Later, he checked for relevant information online. A gigantic family appeared on the screen.
Hans mentioned that the one who could be on equal footing with Carnegie and Rockefeller was Cornelius Vanderbilt. He was the founder of the Vanderbilt family. He was born on Staten Island in 1784.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was a legend. His family was poor, and he had to quit school at the age of 11. At the age of 16, he borrowed $100 from his father to purchase a flat-bottomed boat. He began his business by ferrying freight and passengers between Staten Island and Manhattan. He had started his business with only $100 and progressively became a magnate in New York’s transportation industry.