Nike 'til he dies: Nike gives LeBron James lifetime deal in a bid to replicate multi-billion dollar Air Jordan success

Joe Hall
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NBA Player LeBron James Visits China
'Till death do us part: LeBron James' shoes make millions of dollars a year for Nike (Source: Getty)

Nike has given basketball ace LeBron James a lucrative "lifetime" deal in a bid to replicate the multi-billion dollar success of its Air Jordan brand.

According to reports, the deal is the largest guarantee ever offered to a single athlete in Nike's history, trumping arrangements with even Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

James has been sponsored by Nike since 2003, and has now committed indefinitely to the company with a deal believed to be worth well over $300m.

Read more: Nike named the most valuable sports business in the world

Basketball was Nike's second-largest revenue stream last year, generating $3.7bn for the company, behind running's $4.9bn revenues.

This is Nike's first ever lifetime deal with any athlete, mimicking Adidas' exclusive agreement with David Beckham.

Since signing James to an initial $90m seven-year deal in 2003, Nike has produced 13 shoes in his branded range - generating $340m in sales in 2014 alone.

Yet it is the remarkable longevity of Nike's Michael Jordan, range Air Jordan, which the sportswear giant will eventually hope to repeat with James.

Over a decade after Jordan's retirement from the game, Nike still enjoys over $2bn in annual sales from the Air Jordan brand.

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