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Nike nabs LeBron James’ son Bronny, 18, for lucrative NIL endorsement deal

LeBron James’ son, Bronny, followed in his father’s footsteps and signed a lucrative, multimillion-dollar first NIL contract with Nike, just days after his 18th birthday.

The sportswear giant announced on Monday that it has signed James Jr, and a handful of other young athletes, to name, image and likeness deals.

Bronny is now officially part of the Nike family, nearly 20 years after his father LeBron signed with the brand in 2003, also aged 18, before his own NBA career began.

This is not the first NIL contract that Bronny has signed, however. In February, he signed a deal with underwear brand PSD, in which he designed his own underwear collection, but the Nike deal is expected to be much more lucrative.

The 18-year-old, who has 6.6 million Instagram followers, is estimated to have been earning more than $5 million from NIL deals as early as February, according to On3 Projects, and that number will have increased significantly with the addition from Nike.

LeBron James and his son, Bronny, celebrate after a win over James’ High School in 2021

James Jr.

James Jr. made an official visit to Ohio State University with LeBron and his mother, Savannah

‘The King’ has been a staunch supporter of Nike, even amid criticism throughout his career

James’ eldest son is currently a senior at Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles, California. and expects to announce his commitment to a varsity basketball team in the near future.

“As long as I can remember, Nike has been part of my family,” Bronny said, via Complex, in response to his latest NIL contract. “To have the chance to team up with them and carry on my family’s legacy both on the pitch and in the community is crazy – it really means a lot to me.”

James, four-time NBA champion, signed a lifetime contract in 2015 with Nike, would have worth over a billion dollars.

James has worn elaborate sneakers often, including his 2016 NBA Finals triumph

James has worn elaborate sneakers often, including his 2016 NBA Finals triumph

James has been a face of Nike's basketball and sports campaigns since his NBA debut in 2003.

James has been a face of Nike’s basketball and sports campaigns since his NBA debut in 2003.

The four-time NBA champion, like his son, signed a contract with Nike at the age of 18

The four-time NBA champion, like his son, signed a contract with Nike at the age of 18

WHAT IS ZERO?

Name, image and likeness agreements are a recent addition to the world of college sports and allow student-athletes to be paid beyond receiving a scholarship.

In June 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA cannot prevent student-athletes from getting paid.

State laws determine NIL agreements across the country, but student-athletes cannot be directly paid for their performances because such endorsement agreements like Bronny James’ are how student-athletes earn a revenue.

Endorsements can be sportswear deals, social media posts, car dealership partnerships, or a local restaurant in a college town.

Nike has also recruited student athletes Caitlin Clark, DJ Wagner, Haley Jones and JuJu Watkins. Bronny, Watkins and Wagner are all currently high school athletes while Clark and Jones play basketball at Iowa and Stanford respectively.

Wagner’s father, DeJuan, is a former teammate of LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James Jr., often subject to immense speculation about his NBA credentials, will be eligible for the pros in two seasons, with 2022 his senior year at Sierra Canyon HS in Los Angeles, Calif.

Bronny is already something of a TV star, considering there’s an Amazon documentary about his team’s high school journey.

The third season, which is slated for release on October 31, follows the school’s attempts to win the 2022 California Interscholastic Federation state championship.

Bronny’s college commitment is the most anticipated basketball commitment in recent memory. While other early talents like Josh Giddey and LaMelo Ball played overseas, that seems unlikely.

“Bronny wants to have a college career,” said Savannah James Sports Illustrated in August. “I think it would be really cool for him to start in college basketball, just to start his legacy there.”

James was a strong public supporter of his son during his high school basketball career

James was a strong public supporter of his son during his high school basketball career

James Jr. sent Ohio State fans into a frenzy last month after attending the Big 10 power on a visit. He summarily posted a photo in a Buckeyes uniform to instagramcaptioned ‘Buckeye Nation? #uncommitted.’

It has long been known that Ohio State is a school very close to LeBron’s heart. Akron, Ohio. The native has repeatedly stated that he is rooting for the Buckeyes and would have attended Ohio State if he hadn’t dropped out of college for the NBA.

LeBron’s oldest son is ranked 34th in the ESPN 100 and 41st in the Class of 2023 by 247Sports. According to lastJames Jr. has offers from Ohio State, USC and Memphis.

Bronny is currently in his senior year of high school at Sierra Canyon before heading off to college.

Bronny is currently in his senior year of high school at Sierra Canyon before heading off to college.

James' children have long been in the spotlight, including his youngest son, Bryce (R) and daughter, Zhuri (C)

James’ children have long been in the spotlight, including his youngest son, Bryce (R) and daughter, Zhuri (C)

Traditional powerhouses such as Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan and Oregon have shown interest, all of which are Nike-sponsored schools.

James has revealed plans to play his final NBA season with his eldest son, Bronny, to Athleticism in February.

“My senior year will be played with my son,” James said in an interview with Jason Lloyd. “Wherever Bronny is, that’s where I will be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for a year. It’s not about the money then.

LeBron James has been a Nike athlete since 2003 - before being taken first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft. Now Bronny is about to follow his path

LeBron James has been a Nike athlete since 2003 – before being taken first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft. Now Bronny is about to follow his path

James wants to play with his eldest son who will be draft eligible two seasons from now

James wants to play with his eldest son who will be draft eligible two seasons from now

The Nike deal comes just days after Bronny celebrated his 18th birthday with his famous dad, friends, family and rapper, Travis Scott, who performed to crowds at West Hollywood hotspot Harriet’s Rooftop.

The Houston rapper Scott, 31, amped up the shirtless crowd while performing his hit songs including Sicko Mode and Butterfly Effect. Bronny danced to “Sicko Mode” while LeBron also sang with Scott on his 2018 hit song.

The birthday party included non-alcoholic blue drinks as well as pizza and an ice cream station provided by Harriet’s Rooftop Lounge. LeBron and his wife Savannah, 36, also have a 15-year-old son, Bryce, and a seven-year-old daughter, Zhuri.

Bronny led his Sierra Canyon team to a California State Championship title in the 2019 season

Bronny led his Sierra Canyon team to a California State Championship title in the 2019 season

James could join Bronny in the 2025 NBA season if he hasn't retired from basketball yet

James could join Bronny in the 2025 NBA season if he hasn’t retired from basketball yet

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