'Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber': Is LeBron James and Reebok's $10M deal a true story?
It's not hard to put in sports and athletes references in real-life situations. 'Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber' does just that when Travis Kalanick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) uses the example of LeBron James and his greatness following his first meeting with Reebok when attempting to land a potential investor in Kyle Chandler's Bill Gurley.
"First day out of high school, LeBron James had a meeting with Reebok; took the bus there, that’s all he could afford," Kalanick explains. He adds how James turned down a substantial $10 million check from Reebok before eventually signing with another sports brand Nike. “He stood up and he walked out,” Kalanick tells Gurley. “The man understood his value. Eventually, he signed for much more with the place he wanted to be: Nike."
This is a true story, by the way, one that happened during James' formative years. He was an 18-year-old set to graduate from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and the prodigy he was, the top brands — Reebok, Adidas, and Nike all wanted to sign the future superstar. Reebok got ahead and set up a meeting with James and offered a check for $10 million. The deal in all was worth up to $100 million. The only caveat though was that this check would be valid only if he took the deal.
James looked hard at the cheque only to pass up the deal and move on. A few weeks later he signed a mammoth seven-year, $77 million contract that also included a $10 million signing bonus. The Nike deal was less than the Reebok one, but what mattered was James looked at the larger picture. And to date, he's still the man sporting Nike's and influencing the world to invest in a brand that one of the greatest athletes in the world endorses.
'Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber' airs Sunday nights at 10 pm ET/PT on Showtime.