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Old 05-22-2003, 08:40 AM   #1
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$90 Million... $10 million signing bonus... 0 minutes played... LeBron's Nike Deal

90 million dollars for a guy who's toughest comp up to this point still have pimples...

Wednesday, May 21
Updated: May 22, 8:57 AM ET

Sources: LeBron, Nike agree to seven-year deal

By Darren Rovell

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. Boone said only that an announcement would be released Thursday.

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.

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Old 05-22-2003, 10:38 AM   #2
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it's ridiculous

100 million dollars before he even signs his first basketball contract

100 million dollars when you are 18

100 million dollars before you graduate high school

100 million dollars as the first contract you sign, pretty soon he will have deals for soft drinks, sports drinks, video games, clothing lines...

100 million dollars is just the tip of the iceberg


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Old 05-22-2003, 12:02 PM   #3
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if you accept that this is ridiculous, also realize nike is very likely to sell a ridiculous number of shoes and merchandise off of this kid...each of those products will sell for a ridiculous amount.
it is systemic.
im the candyman. and the candyman is back.
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Old 05-22-2003, 01:16 PM   #4
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i have no problem with people making huge amounts of money... if they're worth it. yes, nike will make a lot of money off lebron right away, just off the hype alone. but there is always the chance that the kid just isn't that good. for every kg and kobe there's a darius miles and kwame brown.
i think he has the chance to be a great player... but you just never know. look at grant hill... amazing talent, amazing potential... 4 good years, then one bad ankle injury, and he's never been able to complete a full season since. the hype over this kid is soooo out of control that i if he's not an amazing talent right away, there's going to be some serious backlash against him.
i still think darko's the best player in the draft myself...
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Old 05-23-2003, 02:05 AM   #5
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how wierd would have been if West got the No 1 pick?
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Old 05-23-2003, 05:49 AM   #6
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Sickening really, although I guess Nike were proved right when they signed Tiger to a $40 million deal before he'd turned pro.
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Old 05-23-2003, 05:58 AM   #7
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sport has joined music in that special realm exploited by the big corporations.
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Old 05-23-2003, 02:04 PM   #8
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LeBron has alot to prove before he lives up to the nickname of "king"
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Old 05-23-2003, 04:53 PM   #9
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Old 05-24-2003, 08:32 PM   #10
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people who don't understand the buisness that is sports these days always see stuff like this and think "damn... he's getting 90 million dollars just to put a ball in a hoop." that's really not the case... it's all a business. michael jordan alone was estimated to have pumped a few billion dollars into the u.s. economy. and although he certainly did make quite a lot of money as a player, he most certainly made more money for the owners, shoe companies, sponsers and the such than he ever made for himself.

the old thing that people always bring up about "why the hell does this guy get 90 million dollars and teachers don't?" doesn't really hold water... if the school the teacher worked for produced billions of dollars a year, the good teachers most certainly would get millions of dollars.
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Old 05-26-2003, 11:55 AM   #11
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thats a good point headache.

100 million is still rediculous though.

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