Nike has signed Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James to a lifetime deal in what seems to be the largest single-athlete guarantee in company history.
“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. It is believed to be the first lifetime deal in the shoe and apparel company’s 44-year history.
Nike has made 13 versions of James’ signature shoe, and annual sales in 2015 for his line are estimated to top $400 million.
James’ Nike business has been consistent even when things haven’t gone smoothly. James didn’t wear his LeBron 11 shoes for most of the 2013-14 season because of its fit, but they still sold well at retail.