Nike Signs LeBron James To Lifetime Deal
In 2005 LeBron James told the Associated Press that he wanted to be the first billionaire athlete -- if not the richest, then one of the richest men in the world. People scoffed at the time, but it's starting to look like that's not out of the realm of possibility.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reported today that LeBron just received a lifetime contract from Nike -- the first such deal in the company's history which makes LeBron the first athlete to get a lifetime endorsement deal. LeBron's shoe line with Nike brought in $340 million last year, according to Forbes, which is the most of any active player. So Nike is highly motivated to lock up their big moneymaker forever -- which might be smart in a landscape where there's increasing competition from Under Armour, Adidas, etc.
BREAKING: Nike has signed LeBron James to a lifetime deal. Largest single athlete guarantee in company's 44-year history.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 7, 2015
In 2010, LeBron re-signed with Nike for a reported $30 million per year. He could play for free for the rest of his career and still be one of the richest athletes in sports -- considering that Nike is far from his only endorsement employer. Forbes:
[James] has the endorsement portfolio to match with estimated earnings of $44 million off the court this season, more than any other athlete in team sports. In addition to Samsung and Kia, James’ other partners include: Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, Upper Deck, Tencent and Audemars Piguet.
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