Lebron James signs landmark lifetime deal with Nike

Wes Williams Dec 7, 2015

Nike and Lebron James have just agreed on a lifetime endorsement, an unprecedented move for Nike in spite of its many athlete partnerships. The deal, according to ESPN sources, will easily surpass Kevin Durant’s $300 million, 10-year deal signed last year. 

While other sports giants Adidas and Reebok have signed lifetime deals with the likes of David Beckham, Derrick Rose, and Allen Iverson, this marks the first time Nike has slapped that label on one of their stars. 

With this deal already breaking the mold for Nike, here’s a look back on some other massive contracts for a picture of the landscape in which this deal takes place: 

Kevin Durant

Last summer, Under Armour had entered the fray with a massive offer to the Oklahoma City star, but Nike had the opportunity to counter anything Under Armour put down. In the end, terms were reached for a $300 million/10-year deal.

David Beckham

David Beckham was one of the first athletes to sign a lifetime endorsement deal, which cost Nike rival Adidas around $160 million.

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose signed on with Adidas for life, which for Adidas meant 14 years, for $260 million

Lebron James

While his new contract blazes new paths for Nike, “the King” is no stranger to big money from them. His first deal with the shoe giant in 2003 was a 7-year $90 million contract. 

There is one name that probably comes closest to what you might call a lifetime deal: Michael Jordan. Jordan’s relationship with Nike is unlike any other athlete, even if it doesn’t sport the “lifetime” tag in a formal way. Many years removed from his basketball career, Jordan’s annual earnings still average around $100 million, largely because of his Nike royalties. The Jordan brand commands 58 percent of the US basketball shoe market. 

While Jordan remains the shoe king, James’ new deal is setting a precedent all its own. 

 

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.