Signs Major Deal with Nike: Dr. Boyce Breaks it Down…

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( To no one’s surprise, NBA star Lebron James has signed a new deal with Nike. The old deal, signed in 2003, was for $93 million dollars, and James seems to have delivered for the Nike Corporation.


LeBron James is one of the world’s best basketball players and a global sports icon that has transcended generations and cultures,” Nike spokesman Kejuan Wilkins said. “Nike’s relationship with LeBron has lebronjamescavaliers  created innovative basketball products and captivating campaigns. We’re proud to continue our partnership with him for years to come.”

While terms were not disclosed, the current deal is believed to be for a longer period of time than his 2003 deal, which was set to cover a seven-year period.

Our relationship with Nike is more than a shoe deal,” Carter said. “It’s more like a joint venture – meaning we are working to build a business. His latest shoe, the LeBron VII designed by Jason Petrie is the best selling shoe we’ve ever had in LeBron’s line.”

Some wonder if James has been encouraged by Nike to play in New York, since this would allow him to sell more shoes. The truth is that it would certainly help him sell more shoes in the US, since New York City is the media capital of the world. At the same time, James really needs one major commodity that has eluded him since he started playing professional basketball: A championship.

The pressure to win a title is getting greater for Lebron, who hasn’t been able to take his team to the promised land. All the while, Kobe Bryant’s tarnished brand has made a nearly complete recovery, namely because he has earned himself another ring. Another important reality is that Lebron isn’t going to sell most of his shoes in the US anyway – he’s going to sell them in China.

When I taught a Finance class in China four years ago, I was floored by the number of Chinese boys who are growing up on NBA basketball. Every single boy I met loved the game, and the NBA finals were playing on the cafeteria television every single day. That’s when I realized that David Stern is well on his way to achieving his goal of turning the NBA into a truly global commodity. The Chinese love champions, so Lebron has to find a way to become one.

One thing that many are saying is that while Lebron James is great, he is not another Michael Jordan. This changes the dynamics of shoe deals and reminds companies to stop looking for the next MJ.

I don’t think any basketball player is making $10 million a year in guaranteed money on a shoe deal ever again,” said Sonny Vaccaro, who convinced Nike to spend their entire basketball budget on Jordan in 1984. “All my life, I said there would never be another Jordan and now we know. It wasn’t Kobe. And it wasn’t LeBron.”

One thing that Voccaro is forgetting, however, is that Lebron is still a young man. At the age of 25, Lebron has a lot of good years ahead of him, and will surely find a way to get the rings he deserves. While he might not win as many titles as Mike did (who does that anyway?), the truth is that Lebron is a legend in his own right. Don’t write him off just yet; there’s a lot more left for him to do. Personally, my hope is that James will start doing more things off the court, utilizing his powerful platform to achieve social justice for African Americans, particularly black men in prison. That would elevate him beyond Michael Jordan to the status of the great Muhammad Ali. There’s more to being a champion than just playing a sport – it’s also ok to be a hero.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins