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Thread: James Signs $90,000,000 Deal with Nike

  1. #1
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    James Signs $90,000,000 Deal with Nike


    Wednesday, May 21
    Updated: May 22, 12:59 PM ET

    Sources: LeBron, Nike agree to seven-year deal

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Darren Rovell
    ESPN.com


    LeBron James is more than a month away from signing with an NBA team, but Wednesday night, the 18-year old phenom -- projected to be the No. 1 pick in the June 26 draft -- agreed in principle to a seven-year deal with Nike, sources told ESPN.com.

    Sources said the deal was worth more than $90 million, but less than the five-year, $100 million deal Tiger Woods signed with Nike in Sept. 2000. The deal also includes a $10 million signing bonus.

    James' agent Aaron Goodwin and family publicist Alexandria Boone both declined to comment. The official announcement came Thursday.

    "Nike is the right fit and has the right product for me at the right time,'' James said in a statement. "They are a good company that has committed to supporting me throughout my professional career, on and off the court.''

    The battle for James -- which formally began when he declared for the draft on April 25 but actually had begun years before -- was thought to be only between adidas and Nike.

    Nike, a $10 billion company with the largest market share in the athletic shoe business, was willing to spend plenty, but James' St. Vincent-St. Mary team had worn adidas, thanks to the work of adidas' director of basketball Sonny Vaccaro. Vaccaro also declined to comment on James' reaching an agreement with Nike.

    But once James turned pro, Reebok executive Tom Shine -- who could not be reached for comment Wednesday night -- told ESPN.com that he kept quiet to respect James' amateur status. Over the past few days, Reebok emerged as the favorite, but in the end James went with the swoosh, less than 24 hours before the league lottery.

    Rick Burton, executive director of the Warsaw School of Sports Marketing at the University of Oregon, said watching how Nike shareholders respond to the news on Thursday should be interesting.

    "When Tiger Woods signed his first deal with Nike worth a reported $40 million, one analyst said that Nike overpaid and downgraded the stock," Burton said. "A couple weeks later, when Tiger won the Masters, it was concluded that they had bought the right guy. We'll obviously have to wait until October to see the first glimpse of LeBron."

    With Nike officials confirming on Tuesday that they had signed Carmelo Anthony, the company could have locked up the first two picks of the NBA Draft, which takes place on June 26. The company also is expected to announce a deal soon with Kobe Bryant, once a penalty clause expires in Bryant's existing deal with adidas in June.

    Wednesday was a big business day for James, as he also signed an exclusive trading card and memorabilia deal with Upper Deck. Goodwin declined to give specifics, but one source with knowledge of the deal told ESPN.com it was a five-year contract worth at least $1 million per year plus a $1 million signing bonus.

    Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

  2. #2
    Pop Culturalist Mosaik's Avatar
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    You know, as much as I love basketball and yearn for the next coming of Michael Jordan... I hope this guy falls flat on his face just because it'd be funny to see how far the corporate machines who have invested so much in an unproven "commodity" will fall as a result.

    Okay, I'm kind of torn...

    I would be equally happy if LeBron exceeded all expectations and started dominating the league as soon as next season... because I love to see talent in action.

    But then again, this guy has only been measured against kids with zits and cracking voices for the most part... How can they call him the next saviour in basketball so soon? Even Michael and Kobe took a few years to raise & mature their game.

    M
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  3. #3
    Melissa M = BARF Threshold's Avatar
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    Normally, I wouldn't root for anyone's failure, but this kid gets $90 million no matter what.

    In that case, I'd rather he be a washout or at best a bench warmer and see the corporate fat cats suffer.
    -Michael

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    a jumble of useless facts gracie's Avatar
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    I give him a year and he'll be in trouble of some kind. No eighteen year old is ready for that kind of money and the responsibility that goes with it. He's already bent the rules with the hummer and couldn't understand why the state athletic association suspended him for taking the shirts. He seems to think he's God's gift to basketball and everyone around him is feeding off his talent. I feel sorry for him because I really do see trouble ahead for him and he'll expect someone to get him out.
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    C'mon Without Cmon Within QuinntheEskimo's Avatar
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    MOSAIK-
    You have hit the nail on the head... right on with every point you made!!
    I have been ranting and raving since i heard about the shoe deal... absolutely amazing considering he has proven absolutely nothing in the NBA! This is like Microsoft hiring me to be CEO? Based on what credentials??

    I feel a little sorry for him in that everything is stacked against him- how can he live up to that hype- even if he averages 20-10-10 next season... i also think there is going to be countless instances where veterans making the league minimum ($1 million) are going to be giving very hard fouls to Lebron's choppers when he goes for a layup... Lots of tough love coming his way!!
    This shoe business is so sickening! How many pair of Lebron's $200 sneakers will they ahve to sell to get their money back?Makes you wonder if Nike and or Reebok are in kahoots with 19E in some fashion- same game different name!

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Being here in Ohio we've had the "pleasure" of intense media coverage of this circus. What bothers me the most is his apparent lack of respect for authority such as the free jersey incident. When he was suspended for the investigation of the purchase of the Humvee what does he do? He shows up at the ballgame with a remote controll Hummer running it across the court. Give me a break!

  7. #7
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Well, Nike invested similar sums (adjusted for inflation) in Jordan and Woods and it more than paid for itself, so I don't fault the business decision.

    I think he will have a very hard time living up to the hype.

    That said, I know I would not turn down the check if it was offered. Heck, Schwartsnegger gets $25 Million a movie, and no one gets upset. It is a free market, and if you can earn the cash, and someone is offering, I say take it, and feel fortunate to do so.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

  8. #8
    Pop Culturalist Mosaik's Avatar
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    Jordan's latest pair of sneakers already retails for over $200 (CDN)... will LeBron's shoes be the first to break the $300 barrier?

    @ Quinn - I like the analogy

    @ UnkleScott - that toy hummer was a slap against NCAA if I've ever seen one... yikes.

    @ Bill - you're absolutely right... it's not his fault that people are following him around 24/7 practically stuffing cash into his pockets... Despite any attitude he may be showing, he is at once the source and the product of the hype. I just hope for the kid's sake that everything works out for him and he keeps his head, otherwise it could turn really ugly. But no matter what happens, he's set for life if he manages even a small percentage of that money properly.

    I think the real evil at work here are his "handlers"... funny how family and "friends" of these kids metamorphose into blood-sucking leeches at the mere whiff of a possible payoff.

    ______________

    On another note, LeBron to Cleveland... in the eyes of many, that's an "ouch"... but not nearly as painful as the Grizz watching their 2nd pick go to the Detroit Pistons!!! You think maybe they'd like to have that pick back??? In case you're just joining us... when all the dust of the years has settled, they have to give up this year's 2nd pick to the Pistons as payment for services previously rendered by Grant Long. OUCH.

    M
    ~M o s a i K~

  9. #9
    Pop Culturalist Mosaik's Avatar
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    "it was somewhat about the money" LOL

    M



    Thursday, May 22
    Updated: Friday, May 23, 10:03 AM ET

    A teen scene out of LeBron's World
    By Andy Katz
    ESPN.com

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AKRON, Ohio -- What was so amazing about the night a teenager named LeBron James rescued professional basketball in Cleveland was the company he kept. Who needs a professional posse when your high school buddies are surrounding your every move?

    The Radisson City Center hotel was like a scene out of the movie "Big.'' There was James, exiting his 19th-floor suite on his way down to the banquet room for the news conference, towering over his St. Vincent-St. Mary teammates. He then moved along in the middle of the prep pack to an interview room for a halftime hit during ABC's telecast of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    His teammates were wide-eyed all the way, looking every bit the kids they are, living a dream of being in a world reserved for men five to 10 years older. James, meanwhile, looked every bit the man he'll need to be much earlier than most NBA players.

    Welcome to LeBron's World. And for a few more days, James' teammates will continue to live in it.

    The fantasy world created by the LeBron phenomenon may take James to NBA riches and untold fame. But it will end soon for his teammates. At least for now, they're living this dream with their King James and will continue to tag along with him for the less-than-an-hour drive to Cleveland.

    Thursday night, James took his teammates to his first day of work. They were on the podium during the news conference. They were hanging with him during each subsequent interview. They were even getting interviewed for "Good Morning America." Can you believe that?

    They were enjoying every second of the party, which from every indication, was about as G-rated as any draft lottery shindig probably has been since the NBA created this made-for-TV event in the mid-1980s. There was a harmless pool being discussed about which team would get No. 1. Aaron Goodwin, James' agent, said it was split between Denver and Cleveland. And, who did James pick?

    "Cleveland," Goodwin said.

    Of course, he did.

    The hotel suite reserved for James was closed to the public, but the euphoria emptying out of it was obvious. This night couldn't have worked out any better for everyone involved -- the James crew, SVSM, the Cavs, the locals and even the media.

    When Russ Granik announced on ABC that the Cavs had the top pick, local Fox sports anchor and long-time Cleveland native Tony Rizzo leaped in the air and practically stormed the TV. So much for unbiased reporting. But we'll let Rizzo slide, and for good reason. James will play for the Cavs, his hometown team, and help resurrect the franchise.

    "I'm really excited about going to Cleveland," James told ESPN.com. "Right now we're looking for a coach (likely Jeff Van Gundy, Paul Silas or Keith Smart), and once we find a coach I can't wait to get acquainted with him and my teammates. This is great; my friends don't have to travel across the country to see me."

    James, once again showing his maturity, made sure everyone noticed that all his teammates were wearing Nike after playing in adidas all season. St. Vincent-St. Mary was an adidas-sponsored school. James, as of Thursday, is a Nike man.

    "You see they're all wearing Nike now," James said, pointing to his teammates. "It hasn't sunk in that I'm a Nike guy. It was the best fit for me, long term. But it was somewhat about the money."

    That's $90 million worth of honesty by James, who is also about as confident as any high school student, regardless of his or her talent.

    James handled the interviews and the realization that he is a multi, multi, multi, multi-millionaire with poise. He was clear, concise, and at the same time, humble and reserved about what he expects.
    With LeBron James playing for pay an hour away, his high school buddies will never be far away.
    "I can't promise an NBA championship," said James, who added that he would buy his mother, Gloria James, a new house in Cleveland with his first million.

    James knows that going against high school players and playing 27 games versus 82 means he has to get tougher, more physical and be ready to play from the first day. But he assured everyone that the Cavs would be better next season, a team that would make the long-suffering fans proud.

    Cavaliers season-ticket sales were expected to soar Friday. Interest in the franchise, both locally and nationally, will be dramatic. James could do for the Cavs what Jordan did for the Bulls in the '90s and Wizards the past two seasons. Don't be surprised to see Cleveland pop up on the national television schedule next season, beginning with the opening game.

    And don't be shocked to see an all-out marketing campaign with James in Cleveland, well before he is officially announced a Cavalier on June 26 by NBA commissioner David Stern in New York.

    Goodwin said he has a scheduled meeting with the Cavs marketing department this weekend. The Cavs can't sign James prior to the draft, but Goodwin said, "obviously we want to have synergy with them. Nike will push him. He'll have a huge presence with Nike and bring attention to Cleveland."

    The Cavs already have a new look -- outfitting the 2003-04 squad in new colors and logos -- and now a boost of self-confidence after they finally got a break. No one seems to be worried about James playing too close to home, not when they saw his crew Thursday.

    Sure, he has an agent, a publicist and a few other randoms who seem to follow in the background. But the inner circle is mostly filled with 17- and 18-year-olds.

    "LeBron never had hangers-on, just his high school teammates," Goodwin said. "He's got 20,000 hanger-on fans in Cleveland, and that's why they come to watch him."

    Don't be surprised if his teammates' parents form an afterschool carpool to Gund Arena next season.

    "Well, all right then," James said after concluding his news conference looking cooler than Ari Fleischer at a White House briefing. "I guess I'll see you all at the Gund."

    And, just like that, he exited ... with his teammates, of course.

    Graduation is June 7 -- from high school. Wonder who'll be voted "Most Likely to Succeed"?

    One thing is certain: King James probably won't lose touch with LeBron James' classmates. If Thursday said anything, they'll be the teenagers trailing him as long as he's a teen phenom.

    Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
    ~M o s a i K~

  10. #10
    The Truth Is Out There ixcrisxi's Avatar
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    eh...
    MULDER: It's still there, Scully. 200,000 years down in the ice.

    SCULLY:
    Leave it there.

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