LeBron James Recalls That One Time He Turned Down $10M From Reebok

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 20: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 20, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 119-114 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

LeBron James Recalls That One Time He Turned Down $10M From Reebok

The superstar athlete explains why he passed on the offer.

Published April 30, 2017

It's no secret that LeBron James, one of the wealthiest athletes in the world, has made some smart business decisions over the years.

Although Forbes has ranked him as the No. 1 highest earning athlete in the United States in 2016, there was once a time earlier in his career when the NBA icon turned down a massive chunk of money.

As recently pointed out by Complex, in 2003, King James passed on an offer from Reebok for $10 million dollars. At the time, the basketball player was on 18, and despite his young age, he knew better than to take the deal--especially just because it was one of the first offers being placed on the table.

As the story foes, the Reebok chairman at the time, Paul Fireman, offered the then-high school student a check for $10 million--on the condition that he would agree not to meet with Nike and Adidas.

"For some odd reason, I started thinking, if this guy...if he's willing to give me a $10 million check right now, what's to say that Nike or Adidas is not willing to give me 20 or 30 upfront?" James said, reflecting on that one time he was first entertaining the offer. "Or to say that, maybe, the upfront money is not even the biggest thing. Maybe let's start thinking about the back end."

He then says that he credits his uncles for teaching him foresight, especially in the business sense, as well as the lesson to let others pitch their ideas and offers before accepting a deal.

Safe to say that although at the time it was imaginably difficult for James to turn down such a large sum of money, such a decision ended up paying off in the end.

Take a look at LeBron James reflecting on the business lessons he learned early on in his career in the clip below.

Written by KC Orcutt

(Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)


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