Two of the biggest brands in the sports world decided to make sure they never get a divorce, as Nike and LeBron James just agreed to a lifetime contract that gives the Cavs superstar the richest sponsorship deal ever for an athlete.
While exact details weren’t immediately available, here’s what a statement from Nike said, per ESPN:
“We can confirm that we have agreed to a lifetime relationship with LeBron that provides significant value to our business, brand and shareholders. 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.”
Although Nike didn’t release the specific contract numbers, it’s believed to be the first lifetime deal in the shoe and apparel company’s 44-year history and an agreement that, according to a source provided to ESPN, “easily surpasses the 10-year, $300 million deal Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed with the world’s largest shoe and apparel brand last summer.”
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
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsJames, who has been with Nike since he signed a then record seven-year, $90 million at the age of 18 before his first NBA game, re-upped with the company again in 2010 for nine years and it’s believed that his signature line is set to pull in an estimated $400 million in 2015, meaning he’s really valuable to the Swoosh.
Nike has never before announced a lifetime deal like the one they did with James today. Assume MJ has at least a de facto one. — Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 7, 2015
Michael Jordan has been the face of Nike for 30-plus years, but with this new lifetime contract, it’s slowly becoming LeBron James who is overtaking him.