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LeBron James

LeBron James Signs Lifetime Contract With Nike

LeBron James will be in the Nike stable for the rest of his basketball career — and beyond.

The world’s largest sporting goods company signed the four-time NBA MVP to an unprecedented lifetime contract on Monday. Terms of the deal weren’t released, but sports agent David Falk, who represented Michael Jordan for most of his playing career, estimated its value at $400 million to $500 million.

Nike said in a statement that the 30-year-old Cleveland Cavaliers forward provides “significant value to our business, brand and shareholders.”

 Nike signed James after he went pro out of high school in 2003. His first contract spanned seven years and was worth $90 million, according to ESPN, with a seven-year extension in 2010. Nike has released at least 13 versions of James’s signature shoes.

What kind of return does Nike get from the deal with James? That depends how you measure, said Matt Powell, an analyst at research firm NPD Group. If you go by what James brings in through sales, versus what they’re paying him, Nike is probably losing money, he said.

“But he’s the face of the brand, and he’s the most popular player in the league, so it makes sense,” Powell said.