Having signed a billion-dollar, lifetime deal, LeBron James was going to be a big part of Nike’s plans, regardless of where he played. But not long after his signing with the Lakers, Nike’s marketing teams in Beaverton, Oregon, and Los Angeles went into overdrive. The company quickly put up billboards steps away from Staples Center — a vertical portrait of James in the Lakers’ home uniform towered over 30 floors, and an iconic tomahawk dunk image from his 2003 rookie debut overtook the entire width of the JW Marriott building.
While the colorways for the first half of the season for James’ signature LeBron 16 sneaker were mapped out before free agency, Nike is working up additional L.A.-specific themes and stories tying back to the franchise and the region’s heritage.
Despite the increased L.A. focus, Nike also is staying connected to LeBron’s Ohio home. During the Lakers’ opening weekend, the company commissioned an art installation made up of seven surfboards featuring James in Lakers colors. Those boards will be raffled in a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to James’ I Promise School in Akron, just one of the many ways Nike will support James’ off-court efforts while providing his on-court footwear.