By: Ajalee Pulley
Nike has signed Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James to a lifetime deal. This is big for both Nike and James; this is the first time the company has ever reached a lifetime deal with an athlete in its 44- year history.
James has been with Nike since he entered the NBA in 2003, at which time they offered him a seven-year contract worth then $90 million. In 2010 he reached another deal with them for more money and a longer period.
“We can confirm that we have agreed to a lifetime relationship with LeBron that provides significant value to our business, brand and shareholders,” Nike said in a statement. “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.”
The deal was negotiated by Main Street Advisors’ Paul Wachter, who also negotiated the deal for John Henry to buy the Red Sox in 2002, and helped sell Beats By Dre for $3 billion to Apple.
Nike sold $340 million worth of James’ signature shoes in a 12-month period from February 2014 through January 2015. Nike has made more versions of James’ shoe than for any other athlete outside of Michael Jordan. According to Forbes, James earns an estimated $30 million in annual Nike earnings. His total earnings outside of basketball has surpassed $326 million in endorsements.
“I’m very humble, man,” said James. “It’s been an unbelievable time for myself and my family, and I’m just grateful that Nike and [Nike founder] 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.”
On top of the lifetime deal James signed with Nike, he signed a two-year deal worth $47 million to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers in July.
Congratulations on all your success LeBron James. NWA wishes you well!