LeBron James on Turning Down $10 Million Check from Reebok in High School

The King reflects on his almost first big pay day.

Before LeBron James formally signed with Nike Inc in 2003, LeBron James was the most sought out high school athlete for an endorsement contract ever. While team swoosh would eventually ink him to a seven-year deal worth upwards of $90 million, Reebok wanted to quickly pursue kid LeBron.

So much, that company CEO Paul Fireman offered him a $10 million-dollar check, right before he graduated from grade school. In an interview with Uninterrupted, King James spoke with longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter about one of his first major decisions.

LeBron went to say, “I flew in from Akron, Ohio, from Spring Hill, from the projects. Our rent was like $17 a month. And now I’m looking at a $10-million check … that I can leave with and go back to high school the next day. I was going to homeroom the next morning. So, I’m like ‘holy shit’.

But if he’s willing to give me a $10-million check right now, what is to say that Nike or Adidas isn’t willing to give me 20 or 30 upfront. Or to say that maybe the upfront money isn’t the biggest thing. You know, maybe let’s start thinking about the back end.” Take a look at the full video interview conversation with the King, as he gears up for Monday’s game one against the Toronto Raptors.

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