Los Angeles, Oct 21 (EFE).- The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Bronny James, the eldest of LeBron James’ children, not only wants to follow in the footsteps of his father in the NBA but has already taken his first steps in building his own economic empire after signing for Nike.
The sports brand last week announced that it had agreed to sponsor five young basketball players.
Names like Caitlin Clark, Haley Jones, DJ Wagner and Juju Watkins might not mean much to those who don’t follow high school and college basketball closely, but the fifth name on the list is sure to ring a bell: Bronny James.
“For as long as I can remember, Nike’s been a part of my family,” James said in the Nike Basketball statement.
“Getting a chance to team up with them and continue my family’s legacy both on the court and in the community is wild. It really means a lot to me,” he added.
The deal is possible thanks to the new Nil (name, image and likeness) contracts that since 2021 have allowed sporting brands in the United States to do business with young players through sponsorship.
The new contracts have changed the landscape of high school and college sports in the US but in the majority of cases — and Bronny is no exception — the terms of these deals are kept under wraps.
Recently turned 18, and 6ft 2” (191cm) in stature, Bronny has excelled as a point guard with the Sierra Canyon School Trailblazers.
With his high school career coming to a close, Bronny will have to decide whether he aims for college basketball or goes international. Either way, his NBA dreams are set in stone.
His father’s legacy — which has now entered its 20th NBA season — goes hand in hand with Nike, with whom he signed in 2003.
The LA Lakers star is one of the brand’s most iconic global ambassadors, and so it makes sense that Nike’s relationship is starting to expand into the family.
“At Nike, basketball is more than just a game. It’s a culture and an opportunity to break barriers, bring people together, build community and shape the future — helping people, including kids, achieve their potential,” the company said in the statement announcing the signing of Bronny.
“To serve the future of athletes and sport, Nike is teaming up with inspiring young athletes who are leading the way now — both on the court and in their communities.”
And yet Nike is not the only brand to strike a deal with Bronny. That same week, the young talent also signed an Nil contract with headphone company Beats, once again following in his father’s footsteps.
LeBron has repeatedly said his dream was to play in the NBA with his son.
For that to happen, the NBA legend will have to wait until 2024, when Bronny is eligible for the draft. It also happens to be the year LeBron can unilaterally end his mammoth, $97-million-contract with the Lakers. EFE