BrandArena: LeBron James is now a Nike pitchman for life

Wednesday 16 December 2015

LeBron James is now a Nike pitchman for life

Nike has signed basketball star LeBron James to a lifetime deal - believed to be the first lifetime deal in the shoe and apparel company's 44-year history.

"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.

"I'm very humble, man," the Cleveland Cavaliers forward 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."

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.

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