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This past December, LeBron James signed a lifetime deal with Nike, becoming the first player in the history of the Swoosh to sign a lifetime contract. James has made Nike a lot of money over the past 13 years, and it’s hard to believe that the $90 million deal he signed the night before the NBA Draft is pennies compared to the deal he is on now.
In an interview with GQ, James’ manager Maverick Carter gives some insight on their brand and reveals that LeBron’s Nike deal is actually worth over $1 billion.
When did you and LeBron decide Hollywood was the next frontier?
It was the natural evolution. Obviously, the goal was to figure out ways to take his talent, who he is, what he represents, and build businesses around that. Because being a great basketball player, there’s a very tight window.
So you guys have always been working on life after basketball?
Once basketball is over, you’ve got fucking 50 years left to live. So you gotta hit ’em while you got the muscle, as they say in The Godfather.
How much was the (Nike) deal for?
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.