LeBron James speaks out for first time after signing lifetime Nike deal

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As the best player of his generation, LeBron James is used to breaking new ground on the court, but, according to reports today, the Cleveland Cavalier star is also setting new standards away from the hardwood.


As first reported by ESPN's sports business analyst Darren Rovell, LeBron James has signed a new "lifetime deal" with Nike that - according to Rovell - is the biggest deal ever handed out to an individual athlete in the sports brand's history.

Although the financial details of the ground-breaking deal are unknown at this stage, it is thought that it far exceeds the $300 million, 10-year contract signed between Nike and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant in the summer of 2014.


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James has been with Nike since he entered the league back in 2003, and, speaking in an official statement, the shoe and apparel company expressed their excitement at what this new deal means:

"We can confirm that we have agreed to a lifetime relationship with LeBron that provides significant value to our business, brand and shareholders," it reads.

"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."


It is testament to James' value to the company that Nike have opted to break with tradition in handing out the lifetime contract.

Other brands, namely Adidas (Derrick Rose, David Beckham) and Reebok (Allen Iverson) have handed out similar deals in the past, but LeBron's is likely to usurp any that went before him.

Speaking after practice on Monday, the player himself was humbled by the news:

"It's been an unbelievable time for myself and my family, and I'm just grateful that Nike and [Nike founder] Phil Knight and everyone over there just believed in a skinny-old, skinny 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, and I'm happy to be a part of such a great company."

"It meant a lot to me even when I signed my first deal just to be with Nike, and it means even more that they've given me this."

If Michael Jordan has taught us anything (aside from how to be the greatest basketball player of all time) it is that an NBA star's endorsement value doesn't diminish when you retire from the court.

Nike will be hoping that plays true with LeBron now that the ink is dry on this monumental new deal.

NBA fans: Will LeBron James have the same legacy as Jordan, on and off the court? Have your say in the comments below...

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