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LeBron James signs lifetime deal with Nike

Nike dominates the basketball shoe market — to the tune of 95 percent of the market. That is based on Nike not letting its best properties get away, such as the massive deals they have with Michael Jordan.

No active players sells more shoes than LeBron James, more than $340 million in 2014 — expected to top $400 million this year. With that Nike locked him up.

Nike and LeBron James have reached a lifetime deal with LeBron, the company confirmed to CNBC (Darren Rovell of ESPN was first). This is officially the first lifetime deal the company has ever handed out, although Jordan has one in practice if not words.

How much money is LeBron going to make off this? No official word, but boatloads. From Rovell.

A source close to the deal told ESPN that it easily surpasses the 10-year, $300 million deal Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed with the world’s largest shoe and apparel brand last summer.

Smart move by both sides. LeBron makes Nike a lot of money and his shoes will sell in the USA and overseas (specifically China) for decades, so lock him up. LeBron is seeing his time in the NBA is finite — he’s being challenged on the court and in marketing deals by Stephen Curry now — and he cashed in while he could.

(Curry’s new Under Armour shoes are reportedly selling well, but are still a fraction of LeBron’s sales.)

There have been 13 LeBron signature shoes through Nike. You can count on a lot more coming now.