08 Dec Nike Signs LeBron James to Lifetime Deal
Nike Inc. has signed NBA star LeBron James to a lifetime contract. The terms were not disclosed but the deal marks Nike’s first ever lifetime contract and is said to be its largest contract with any athlete.
“We can confirm that we have agreed to a lifetime relationship with James that provides significant value to our business, brand and shareholders,” Nike said in a statement released to the media. “We have already built a strong LeBron business over the past 12 years, and we see the potential for this to continue to grow throughout his playing career and beyond.”
Nike has endorsed James throughout hits 13-year career. James initially signed with Nike out of high school in 2003 for a reported $90 million.
A source close to the deal told ESPN that James’ deal easily surpasses the 10-year, $300 million deal Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed with Nike last summer.
Adidas has structured lifetime contracts with Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose and soccer legend David Beckham.
James’s signature Nike sneakers sold an estimated $340 million in 2014, nearly double the amount Durant, the second-highest seller, and an increase of 13 percent from the previous year. Nike has made more versions of LeBron’s shoe (13) than for any other athlete outside of Jordan. Reports have speculated that the size of the deal means Nike views the Lebron name as having strong potential post-retirement, similar to Michael Jordan’s franchise.