LIFETIME CONTRACT: LeBron James
LEBRON JAMES has signed a lifetime contract with sportswear brand Nike that will last long after he hangs up his sneakers.
The NBA megastar has signed a lifetime endorsement deal with the athletic apparel giant, a deal which extends a partnership James began with Nike before he graduated from high school.
"I'm very humble, man," James said Monday (Dec 7) 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."
Nike’s strategy regarding James is similar to the one it has had with Michael Jordan, whose namesake brand remains a prominent part of the company a dozen years after his final retirement.
Financial terms of James' deal were not disclosed. James signed a seven-year, $90 million contract with Nike shortly before he entered the draft in 2003, skipping college to be a pro.
James has had his own line of Nike shoes for years, and his new agreement could expand into his own brand.
"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 emailed to the AP.
"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."
James was asked why he would sign with Nike now, years ahead of even talk of retirement.
"Because I don't want to go nowhere else," he said. "I'm Nike and swoosh for the rest of my life."