As it turns out, Kanye West was right about how much LeBron James' lifetime deal with Nike is worth.
In an interview with GQ, LeBron's friend and manager Maverick Carter confirmed that James deal with Nike is in fact worth $1 billion. Here's an excerpt from the interview below; note that the questions from GQ are in bold:
How much was the deal for?
I can't say.
Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it?
What are people saying?
Kanye said a billion. So a billion.
[Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.]
Yeah. It's a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That's the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It's the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.
A billion, even over a lifetime, is unprecedented. It also puts LeBron in another category when it comes to athletic endorsements. Kevin Durant, for instance, has deal worth $300 million with Nike. Additionally, it means that maybe LeBron's role with Nike is only going to continue to grow. He'll probably continue to have signature sneakers made past the end of his playing career and maybe his own LeBron-branded gear a la Jordan Brand. Funny enough, $1 billion is also what the Cavaliers are roughly worth.
But no matter what LeBron and Nike do next, he's being very well compensated for it. Facts only.