MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 05: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on December 5, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo : Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
LeBron James will be a “Nike” ambassador until he decides to quit playing basketball. The NBA star was reportedly given a lifetime deal with the popular shoe brand.
The report comes from ESPN, which added that the deal given to James will easily surpass the 10-year $300 million deal offered to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant last Summer.
Figures were not disclosed though the only thing certain is that the deal will be the first lifetime deal that Nike has given throughout its 44-year-old history.
James was humbled with the new deal and was pleased with the new lifetime deal. With the new pact, it is somehow likened to the similar setup that retired NBA great Michael Jordan has – a de facto agreement for life.
"It's been an unbelievable time for myself and my family, and I'm just grateful that Nike and Phil Knight and everyone over there just believed in a skinny-old, skinny 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, and I'm happy to be a part of such a great company," said James.
Nike has made more versions for James next to Jordan since signing up way back during the eve of the 2003 NBA lottery. At that time, the Cavs star forward signed a seven-year deal worth about $90 million which was the largest for any athlete at that time.
A total of 13 versions for James have been made and his signature shoes annual sales are expected to top $400 million this 2015.
With James proving to be a big sell, the same report bares that there were even talks about possible creating a separate brand for James which most likely be similar to the “Air Jordan” line. Both parties eventually shelved that idea.
"We want to just continue it. If it makes sense for us to have a 'Team LeBron,' or whatever the name will be, we'll take a look at it and we'll go from there."
The lifetime deal will unsurprisingly place James in the company of other players who have signed similar lifetime deals. That includes Derrick Rose with Adidas and another retired NBA great in Allen Iverson with Reebok.
On the business side, only Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors will likely give him some problems as far as shoe sales are concerned. Curry is signed with Under Armour and to date, his Curry Two shoes have been faring well, as mentioned in the New York Times.
The Nike deal appends his other business investments of late. These include an equity stake with Beats, territorial rights in Chicago and Miami Blaze (a pizza chain), and a $15.8 million investment with Time Warner and Turner.