“LeBron James rejected Reebok’s $117 million to ink a $87 million deal with Nike”: How Lakers superstar started his storied relationship with the Swoosh

Raahib Singh
|Published May 22, 2022

In 2003, LeBron James inked a 7-year, $87 million deal with Nike, losing over $28 million by not picking Reebok

Getting to the NBA is a dream for everyone who loves to play basketball. However, there are only a few who can actually materialize on the same. Out of those few, there are only a select few who go down as the greats of the game. LeBron James is one of them.

Getting tons of recognition from his freshman year at high school itself, LeBron James was a well-sought-after person. Right from his high-school days, LBJ was getting comparisons to the great Michael Jordan. Many went as far as to call the young high-schooler the next coming of MJ.

Also Read: “LeBron James is the most gifted player we’ve ever seen, but Michael Jordan changed the game”: When Karl-Anthony Towns reasoned why the Bulls superstar was his pick for the GOAT debate 

Since he declared himself for the NBA Draft in the summer of 2003, shoe brands were after him for a deal. Before the NBA Draft, the King had to select between Nike, Reebok, and Adidas as the shoes he would wear when he debuted on the big stages.

LeBron James lost $28 million by choosing Nike, but has gained about $1 billion since

Back in 2003, Reebok was offering James $115 million for a rookie deal. On the other hand, Nike was offering $87 million, and Adidas was offering under $60 million. LeBron James decided to go after the brand his idol, Michael Jordan trusted, and went with Nike.

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19 years later, LeBron is on a lifetime deal with Nike, having signed a $1 billion deal for the same. Apart from that, LBJ earns around $32 million per year from the shoe brand.

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Also Read: “No NBA? No problem! Kevin Durant and LeBron James were out for blood!”: When Lakers’ superstar and Nets’ leader balled out at a pickup game during the 2011 Lockout

Nike opened the LeBron James innovation center on their Oregon campus. Together, Nike and LBJ have been striving to bring around change for the betterment of athletes and society.

With what he’s gained with the Swoosh, I guess the initial $28 million wouldn’t hurt LBJ so much.

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About the author

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A Computer Science Engineer by qualification, Raahib's passion for sports drew him toward TSR. He started playing basketball when he was 14, and fell in love with the sport ever since. His interest in the NBA developed at the same time as when Stephen Curry put the entire league on notice. Raahib was spellbound by Steph and the Warriors and has been a fan since. From starting off as a Warriors fan, Raahib has evolved into someone who can never miss a good game of basketball. He converts his love for the game and the knowledge he has gained into the articles he writes. In his spare time, he enjoys cricket, going for walks, and murder mysteries.

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