The hype around LeBron James, the high-school phenom from Akron, OH, was real. Before he even finished High School, NBA analysts were already dissecting his game, haters didn’t hesitate to predict him as a flop, and shoe companies were going at him hard. While it’s well documented that both Nike and adidas were the primary suitors for LeBron, it was Reebok and brand chairman Paul Fireman that moved the first chess piece.
According to the latest installment of UNINTERRUPTED’s Kneading Dough with Maverick Carter, LeBron details the meeting that he had with Fireman. Reebok flew LeBron out of Akron, OH and offered him a $10 million check on the spot. The condition? Reject any future meetings with Nike and adidas.
Becoming an instant millionaire would be difficult for anyone to turn down, but LeBron’s business acumen kicked in and declined the offer, figuring Nike, adidas, or any other interested brand would gladly pony up much more. Last year, Nike and LeBron reached a lifetime endorsement deal reportedly worth around $1 billion.
During his time at St. Vincent St. Mary, LeBron James did in fact wear Reebok Questions. He went on to sign with Nike and the Air Zoom Generation, his first Nike signature shoe, was released in 2004.