Nike Signs LeBron James To A Lifetime Contract, Michael Jordan Part II?
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Nike revealed Monday (December 7, 2015) that it has signed Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James to a lifetime contract, securing arguably the most marketable athlete on the planet through his career and beyond.
Nike’s move can be considered a no-brainer regarding James and the athletic shoe and apparel company used a similar strategy with Michael Jordan, whose brand remains a prominent part of the company over a decade after his retirement.
James, 30, began his partnership with Nike shortly before he entered the 2003 NBA Draft signing a seven-year, $90 million contract and skipping college to become a pro.
A source familiar with the terms of LeBron’s new lifetime deal told ESPN that the deal easily eclipsed the $300 million, ten-year deal that Nike signed with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
“I’m very humble, man,” James said Monday after practice with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“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 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, and I’m happy to be a part of such a great company.”
So far there have been 13 versions of LeBron’s signature shoe and annual sales for 2015 are expected to pass $400 million. James also has a clothing line with Nike and he could expand into his own brand.
“We’ll see when we get to that point,” said James, who has signed three contracts with Nike.
“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. It’s a partnership between us. It’s not an endorsement deal.
Nike has had a longstanding and lucrative partnership with Michael Jordan, but they have never announced a lifetime deal. However, it is believed that Michael Jordan was the first lifetime deal in the Nike’s 44-year history.
Sales of Nike’s Air Jordan brand have amassed more than $2.2 billion in sales since 1985.
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