Nike has signed LeBron James to a lifetime endorsement deal, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports.
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
The deal is the biggest single-competitor deal in Nike’s 44-year history. It also marks the first time that Nike has actually given a lifetime endorsement deal.
James, who is 30 and entering another phase of his career, previously signed a seven-year, $90 million contract with Nike before he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. In 2010, James re-signed with Nike and he was reported earning as much as $30 million every year in the NBA.
As reported by Rovell, LeBron’s new deal with Nike “effectively surpasses” the 10-year, $300 million deal that Kevin Durant signed with Nike in 2014.
SportsOneSource reports that James has had his own signature mark shoe line with Nike since his early years (rookie) season in the NBA, and the sales of his shoe were the highest among dynamic players in the NBA at $340 million annually, as reported by Forbes.
As Fortune’s Daniel Roberts notes, James’ current deal with Nike is the most successful endorsement in a series of effective business ventures. A week ago, he made another deal valued at $15.8 million investment from Time Warner Cable in his media organization.
Rovell also reported that Nike and James talked about potentially breaking out James’ brand independently from the Nike basketball umbrella, but at the end of the day ruled against it.
According to Lebron James, “We’ve done a great job of building my brand to this point here today,” James said. “We want to just continue it. 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.”
“I’m very humble, man,” James told reporters after Monday’s practice. “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.”
Above all, James commented on his affinity for the brand, how important his first Nike deal was and what the new agreement means to him.