The deal is reportedly the largest single athlete guarantee in the sports apparel company's history and was negotiated by Paul Wachter, who helped sell Beats by Dre for $3 billion to Apple, according to Rovell.
“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.”
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and soccer star David Beckham have lifetime contracts with Adidas. Nike has never formally announced a lifetime pact with an athlete before James. Michael Jordan may have a contract since the launch of Jordan Brand in 1985.
Nike offered James a seven-year contract worth approximately $90 million contract with incentives before the 2003 NBA draft lottery.
According to Forbes, James earns an estimated $30 million in annual Nike earnings. His total outside of basketball has surpassed $326 million with endorsements. James’ signature Nike shoe sales have surpassed $300 million in the U.S.
James signed a two-year deal worth $47 million to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers in July. The NBA’s new $24 billion television contract will kick in before the 2016 off-season, which is expected to raise the salary cap on players’ contracts.