About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Why LeBron James Signed With Nike Despite Reebok Making a Much Bigger Offer

The Reebok CEO was ready to give $10 million upfront coupled with the $115 million contract offer.
Cover Image Source: LeBron James | Getty Images |  Sean M. Haffey
Cover Image Source: LeBron James | Getty Images | Sean M. Haffey

Lebron James is arguably one of the most coveted basketball players in the history of high school basketball. Leading shoe brands were looking to get him on board when he was only 18. Recently, an Instagram user, Kevin Bond (itskevinbond), posted a video of LeBron James, where he revealed that then Reebok CEO Paul Fireman was ready to give $10 million upfront coupled with the $115 million contract offering by Reebok if he agreed to not look at other shoe companies like Nike and Adidas. "I was lost for words at the beginning. I flew in from Akron, Ohio, from Springhill, from the projects. Our rent was $17 a month, and I am looking at a $10 million check," he said, via The Sports Rush.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kevin Bond (@itskevinbond)


But we know that as soon as Adidas' contract which was sponsoring his high school, St.Vincent-St.Mary was over, it was none other than Nike who jumped the gun and not Reebok. It was also reported that Nike managed to bag the deal despite not being able to match Reebok's offer. Moreover, Reebok's CEO had also made it very clear to James that if he signed the deal, he would become the most important player in the history of the shoe company, highlighting something that James would not get in the crowded field of superstar athletes when it came to Nike.

In the end, he chose Nike, just one day ahead of his NBA Draft. At this point, Nike had raised their offer significantly but so had Reebok. The bottom line is that by signing Nike, James, the guy who had spent most of his life in poverty until then, settled for $25 million less just because he was a "Nike Guy." Nike reportedly matched the initial upfront payment of $10 million and offered him another $87 million over 7 years. Again in 2015, LeBron James signed a historic lifetime contract with Nike worth $1 billion.


His association with Nike has stood the test of time with him being one of Nike's few lifetime contract athletes, with his exclusive signature shoe line. There is no denying that this was one of the smart financial moves that Lebron had made at a very young age. Today, LeBron James' net worth is a whopping $1 billion, as per Forbes. You see, while Reebok's offer was more tempting, signing Nike allowed James to earn more in the long term as he turned it into a lifetime contract. Additionally, James famously rejecting a lucrative offer to stand for what he liked more, helped him build his brand and legacy. 


LeBron James, fondly known as King James, was reportedly unfazed by the lucrative offer that Reebok made. The current CEO of Reebok who was present the night James said no to the offer said, "See LeBron stoic. He wasn’t impressed...But I’ve only had two athletes in my life that I have worked with and I had this feeling when I saw them the first time. He knew everything that was coming to him and he was ready for it. It was just this confidence."

The decision ultimately proved to be financially beneficial for the 18-year-old boy who perhaps took the call to go with Nike only because it was his favorite growing up. It could also have been the image that Nike had built around Michael Jordan, an inspiration for James.