"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. "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."
Financial terms of the Cleveland Cavaliers forward deal were not disclosed but it is said to have surpassed the US$300 million, 10-year deal fellow NBA star Kevin Durant signed in 2014.
Nike first signed James before he graduated high school, and now the company is investing in him for the long run. But a lifetime deal is an anointment of retail royalty-it signals a belief that a player's brand will be profitable for years to come, even post-career.
Adidas, Nike's biggest sportswear rival, also has lifetime endorsements in place with Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and former soccer star David Beckham.