With the likes of Adidas and Reebok competing for his signature, LeBron James decided to pick Nike. He did that despite reportedly being offered more money by Reebok. That is a testament to the belief that King James had in the company. After signing the deal, James said:
"I don't wear Adidas, I'm a Nike guy, I'm a Nike guy. I'm so excited about being a Nike guy, I just felt that was the best fit for me. Somewhat had to do about the money, of course, but I just think that they showed me that it was going to be a long-term thing. I'm just trying to do the best I can."
The deal made King James the highest paid as the superstar signed a shoe deal before he even played a single minute in the NBA. At that point, it was the richest shoe deal for a rookie in the history of the league.
LeBron James's partnership with Nike
LeBron James has had a tremendous partnership with Nike over the years as the bond grew. The fact that he chose Nike over Reebok despite the latter offering more money speaks volumes of how much King James wanted to sign with Nike.
Nike "Air Zoom Generations" was the first signature shoe the company launched after King James signed with them in 2003 and a new version of this has been launched every year since.
In 2016, LeBron reportedly signed a lifetime deal with Nike that is said to be worth more than $30 million a year. But according to Maverick Carter, James' close friend and business partner, this deal is set to be worth a billion dollars. While the actual terms of this deal was never officially reported, it does hold substance since it is coming from Maverick Carter.
When Kevin Durant signed a 10-year deal worth over $30 million, it is not a stretch of the imagination to imagine James signing a billion dollar deal with Nike. There were reportedly conversations that King James and Nike would include the notion of breaking out brand separately but eventually decided against it.
Nike have certainly got their money's worth by signing this exorbant deal with King James as the former Cleveland Cavaliers superstar is one of the most recognized figures on the planet.