In December 2015, it was announced that LeBron James, perhaps Nike’s most profitable athlete since Michael Jordan, had signed a lifetime deal with the Swoosh. Although the exact figures weren’t available, it was said to be the largest single-athlete deal in Nike’s history. Today, we have a clearer understanding of how much James’s behemoth deal is actually worth.
In a profile for GQ, LeBron’s business partner Maverick Carter was pushed to disclose details on the final numbers of the historic deal with Nike. He was hesitant at first, but finally relents.
GQ: How much was the deal for?
Maverick Carter: I can’t say.
Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it?
What are people saying?
Kanye said a billion. So a billion.
[Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.]
Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.
Yes, you read that right. Over $1 billion for the King to remain draped in Nike apparel and kicks for the rest of his life. What does a person do with that amount of money? Purchase the city of Cleveland? Buy the Cavaliers? Drive an actual Transformer to work? I guess it’s a good problem to have.
Welcome to the billionaire boys club, LeBron.