Well before LeBron James made his NBA debut and even before he was selected first overall in the 2003 Draft, he signed an endorsement deal with Nike that was worth a reported $90 million over seven years.
James donned his first signature shoe, the Nike Zoom Generation, in the season opener. He had 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals over 42 minutes in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Although James’ professional career began on a down note, his Nike Zoom Generation went on to become one of the more coveted pairs of sneakers. It wasn’t until January 2017 that Nike released a retro version of the shoe.
It was available in limited quantities and releases since then have also been difficult to come by. One colorway that’s yet to be made available is a purple suede version of the Zoom Generation.
James debuted the pair ahead of Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals, and wore them again on Sunday to attend the Los Angeles Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League game. He appropriately paired the shoe with yellow Lakers shorts.
The suede came from Denny Hamlin’s suit, per ESPN’s Nick DePaula:
LeBron’s courtside #SummerLeague fit today:
JustDon Lakers shorts — $500
Air Zoom Generation Retro PE — Suede material from Denny Hamlin’s Nascar racing suit pic.twitter.com/PzTRlkXn1h
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) July 15, 2018
The public appearance was James’ first since he signed a four-year, $153 million contract. He did not speak with reporters and isn’t expected to until July 30, when his foundation opens a school in Akron, Ohio.
It’s not yet known if Nike will release the Zoom Generation in the purple suede colorway. But considering James is signed to a lifetime deal and the large Los Angeles market, it stands to reason the brand will outfit their top athlete with plenty of high-profile sneakers that will also be made available to the public in some capacity.
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