According to ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell, and later confirmed by CNBC Now, Nike and LeBron James have agreed to a lifetime contract. The official terms have yet to be disclosed, but according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, James’ annual earnings from Nike will be “multiple times” higher than the $30 million a year currently paid to fellow NBA phenome Kevin Durant.
Deals of this magnitude are rarely signed and for good reason. By agreeing to a lifetime contract with an athlete, the company is guaranteeing that said athlete will never dampen their legacy through the stereotypical “scandal” that stars have become accustom to throughout the years.
LeBron scores LIFETIME deal w/ Nike. Such deals are virtually unheard of b/c the brand is betting the athlete will never have a scandal.
— Daniel Roberts (@readDanwrite) December 7, 2015
To be fair, those sweatshops run by Nike make it rather easy for an athlete to refrain from tarnishing their reputation.
All jokes aside, Nike’s investment is understandable, seeing as LeBron James has continuously outperformed his competition in regard to producing serious cash for his sponsors. According to Forbes‘ Kurt Badenhausen, sales of his signature shoe amassed $340 million between February 2014 and January 2015, making LeBron Nike’s top earner. While stars such as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and James Harden are comparable to James, LeBron will always be the most marketable athlete of this generation.