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When word got out that LeBron James signed a lifetime deal with Nike, we all knew it wasn’t for chump change. We’ve now gotten confirmation that the deal is worth a cool $1 billion, at minimum. 

GQ caught up with Maverick Carter, King James’ high school buddy and business partner. While playing coy at first, Carter confirmed that they hit the motherlode thanks to the Swoosh.

Says GQ:

So you just negotiated an unprecedented lifetime contract for LeBron with Nike. What’s your secret to being a great negotiator?

You have to go into the room understanding a couple things. You have to know what you want. You have to know how to clearly articulate those things. You have to know what’s important to the other side and what they want. Be able to articulate those things, too. And then you have to be willing to not take everything. If you go into the negotiation like, I’m gonna get every dollar, every piece of real estate—I’m just gonna take this guy’s fucking pants off—you may be able to do that once, maybe twice, but after that, people aren’t going to want to do business with you. When you’re negotiating something like the Nike deal, it’s gonna last a lifetime, literally. The minute this negotiation’s over, we’re gonna work with these people every day. So you don’t want to leave them with a bad feeling.

How much was the deal for?

I can’t say.

Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it?

What are people saying?

Kanye said a billion. So a billion.

[Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.]

Actually, but that’s just the baseline.

Holy sh*t.

Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.

LeBron James still has plenty of shoes to sell.

Peep the full story over at GQ.

Photo: Nike Basketball

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