LeBron James Had a $10 Million from Reebok In High School, And Turned It Down

LeBron James
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavilers goes up for the dunk against the New York Knicks on February 22, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBAE/Getty Images
LeBron James Visits 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' (Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon')
LeBron James Visits ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ (Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’)
Theo Wargo/NBC


LeBron James’ recent interview on “Kneading Dough with Maverick Carter” was interesting for a number of reasons, but the biggest reveal from it was that Reebok offered LeBron an economics lesson while he was in high school

The sneaker giant offered the then-NBA prospect an unprecedented $10 million deal—and LeBron shot it down.

“I was lost for words at the beginning,” LeBron said, remembering how he felt when Reebok offered him the deal if he refused to talk to competitors Nike and Adidas. “I flew in from Akron, Ohio, out of Spring Hill, from the projects … And now I’m looking at a $10 million check … I was going to homeroom the next morning. I’m like,’ Holy s—.’”

Of course, James didn’t take the money. While certainly tempted, he still wanted to see what other companies would offer him instead of taking the first deal he was given.

“If this guy… if he’s willing to give me a $10 million check right now, what is it to say if Nike or Adidas isn’t willing to give me $20 or $30 [million] upfront,” James said, laying out his reasoning. “I’ve always been — and it comes from my uncles as well — never put all of your eggs in one basket. Give it an opportunity. Give people an opportunity to say what they got, to pitch themselves.”

Clearly, LeBron made the right move, given that he ultimately signed a $90 million deal with Nike, but even he still can’t believe he made the choice he made as an 18-year-old. “I still can’t believe I left that $10 million,” he told Maverick.

See Uninterrupted for the full interview.


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