*LeBron James now belongs to Nike for the rest of his natural life.
The athletic apparel conglomerate has signed the Cleveland Cavaliers forward to a lifetime deal in what one source familiar with the negotiations said is the largest single athlete guarantee in company history, reports ESPN.
“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.”
A company spokesperson would not say how much Nike paid. But, a source close to the deal told ESPN that it easily surpasses the 10-year, $300 million deal Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed with the world’s largest shoe and apparel brand last summer.
It is believed to be the first lifetime deal in the shoe and apparel company’s 44-year history.
“LeBron and I have been in love and obsessed with Nike since we were kids,” Maverick Carter of LRMR, James’ business partner, said Monday. “Having built a totally innovative, global business with them has truly been a dream come true. We are so excited to be taking the business to an entirely new level. For LeBron, he’s thrilled to know he’s a Nike guy for life.”
Carter will manage the deal for James, which was negotiated by Paul Wachter of Main Street Advisers, who also negotiated the deal for John Henry to buy the Red Sox in 2002 and represented Beats By Dre in its $3 billion sale to Apple last May.