All major shoe companies are about to begin a bidding war as they attempt to sign Zion Williamson. It’s expected to surpass LeBron James contract in 2003 and become the most expensive shoe contract in the history of the NBA.
When coming out of High School, it turns out that before LeBron signed with Nike, he was offered a much better deal from Reebok. The Reebok offer was worth approximately $115 million over 10 years with a $10 million signing bonus.
James grew up envisioning himself being a part of Nike even though their offer was closer to $70 million which is much lower compared to Reebok’s. Being a super fan of Michael Jordan growing up, Nike was clearly James’ number one preference due to the quality and the design of marketing compared to other brands.
However, both parties persisted into finding a deal that they would both be happy with. Aaron Goodwin, James’ agent, called Nike to let them know that LeBron’s first preference is with them and that they would accept a deal if the offer was slightly improved.
An agreed seven-year, $77 million guaranteed contract with a $10 million signing bonus that took the total deal to $87 million. The deal was signed and was double the amount of a new deal that Kobe had recently signed with Nike.
When the news came through about LeBron James signing with Nike, it took a massive hit on Reebok where their stock fell dramatically. Reebok released this statement at the time.
"While we believe LeBron James would have been a tremendous asset to Reebok, the costs associated with securing a long-term partnership with him was far beyond what we are willing to invest. Reebok's largest competitor simply put more money on the table and in the final hour -- after carefully considering what is in the best interest of our business and our shareholders -- Reebok elected to not match this offer ... we feel great with what Reebok has achieved and that our recent string of unparalleled successes pressured our largest competitor into taking on this enormous cost."
This year, LeBron James signed a lifetime contract with Nike.
The big question now is will Zion Williamson follow in LeBron’s footsteps and sign with Nike and can he sign a more expensive deal.