Will LeBron James’ Lifetime Deal With Nike Make Him A Billionaire?

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LeBron James reportedly signed a lifetime deal with Nike earlier this week, the largest single-athlete deal they’ve ever done. (We’re still acting on the assumption that Michael Jordan doesn’t count, because he has his own shoe empire with Jordan Brand, which rakes in around $100 million annually for His Airness; man, it’s good to be MJ.) Some opined that the lifetime deal would gross James around half a billion dollars, or around $500 million, but now sources tell USA Today it’s a lot more than that.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, James’ lifetime shoe deal that was revealed on Monday is worth significantly more than the $500 million that has been speculated in some media reports and — at the current rate of sales — is also worth more than $30 million on an annual basis. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the financial terms.

Uhh, yeah. Because, well, math.

LeBron James will turn 31 years old on Dec. 30 this year. The average male life expectancy in the United State is around 76 years old. While there’s nothing average about LeBron, we can use that number as a baseline; although, it’s fair to guess he lives far beyond that age while bathed in wealth and comforts he couldn’t even conceive of as a teenager in Akron.

It’s also important to note most black men in America don’t live as long as white men. But because LeBron James is no longer facing — quite as much, at least — day-to-day institutional racism that’s kept black men and women down since this America’s birth as a nation-state, and because the disparity between black and white male life expectancy is already accounted for in the life expectancy averages, we’re sticking with 76 years old as our baseline.

So, the following equation develops: 76 (average male life expectancy) — 31 (age of LeBron on Dec. 30) = 46 x 30 (million $) = 1350 million, or $1.35 billion dollars.

That means if LeBron lives as long as the average male in the United States and makes at least $30 million a year from Nike — remember, according to Amick’s sources, it’s purportedly more than that — he could stand to gross $1.35 billion over the course of the deal. That’s also under the assumption the percentage he stands to make each year stays the same over the length of the lifetime contract, so who the hell knows. It’s fun to play with the numbers because that’s a lot of money.

Basic arithmetic is a lot fun when you’re the best basketball player on the planet.

That figure looms largest after all the other major basketball sneaker deals we’ve seen recently. The $200 million figure adidas signed James Harden with, Damian Lillard’s nine-figure sum to re-sign with adidas, and Kevin Durant’s $325 million deal with the Swoosh all look tiny next to King James’ mammoth lifetime total.

But none of these hoopers should be upset LeBron’s deal is the biggest; everyone is making a boatload of money.

(USA Today)