Lebron James is on cloud nine, and he has every reason to be. It’s just been confirmed that the Cleveland Cavaliers forward is signing a lifetime deal with Nike, marking the first time the brand has ever announced a lifetime partnership since it was established 44 years ago.
While this is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment for any pro athlete, Lebron James still seems to be humbled by the remarkable opportunity that’s just been handed to him, and took to Instagram today to share his gratitude. James posted a very cool portrait of himself that’s been designed using only Nike logos. In the caption, he wrote, “4 Life! Thank you for taking a chance on a skinny 17 year old kid from Akron Ohio [sic],” along with a hashtag for “Nike” and his signature catchphrase, “StriveForGreatness.”
This partnership has been 12 years in the making for James. Nike first had their eye on him right out of high school, going up against Reebok and Adidas to finally sign him for a seven-year deal worth $90 million in 2003—he was only 18 at the time. Since then, Nike has released more versions of Lebron James’ signature shoe (13 versions in total) than they have for any other athlete, with the exception of Michael Jordan.
Although we don’t know yet how much James is being paid by Nike, his deal is rumored to be much bigger than the $300 million that fellow NBA player Kevin Durant got for the 10-year Nike deal he signed last year.
Regardless of how much money he’s making off of this, James says his focus is and always will be to do what he does best—play the game. “I’m going to continue to do my job and represent the brand the best way I can, like I know how,” James said about the new partnership.