News of Stephen Curry's new brand by Under Armour has prompted discussion as to why LeBron James doesn't have his own Nike sub-brand. The King himself recently spoke on what could have been during an interview on UNINTERRUPTED's Road Trippin' podcast.
On the show, James revealed that he previously approached Nike with the idea of signing Luka Dončić to a would-be LeBron brand. "I don't even know if Luka knows this, but he will know it now," he said. "I wanted Luka to be the first signee of Team LeBron when he was going through his situation."
The "situation" James is referring to is Luka's sneaker free agency. The 21-year-old Dallas Mavericks superstar ultimately ended up signing a multi-year deal with Jordan Brand. "I don't believe that my guys at Nike were ready for that," LeBron added. "And obviously they were not, because he ended up going to Jordan."
James has been with Nike from the jump, having signed the richest rookie shoe deal in NBA history before ever playing in a single game. Fast forward to 2015, when Bron signed a lifetime deal with Nike reportedly worth more than $1 billion. The next step would certainly be a sub-brand managed by LeBron himself.
If that were ever to happen, we have a few suggestions as to who he should sign, from hoopers to footballers and beyond.
In many ways, Ben Simmons has modeled his game after LeBron, with some even referring to him as the second coming of King James. There is also mutual admiration, as both players have continually praised one another's basketball prowess. The two All-Stars have another connection as well: agent Rich Paul. Paul's Klutch Sports counts both Simmons and James as clients and could help facilitate Simmons signing for Team LeBron.
Naomi Osaka is one of the brightest young athletes in any sport. At the age of 23, the tennis superstar is currently ranked number three in the world and is also the reigning US Open champion. Even more impressive, Osaka consistently uses her platform to speak out on racial and social injustices, a trait she undoubtedly shares with LeBron. In addition to her social activism, Osaka already has her own sneaker collaboration with Nike and COMME des GARÇONS and is a bonafide sneakerhead. We have a feeling she’ll fit right in at Team LeBron.
Jarvis Landry is another member of the Klutch Sports family, who also happens to play for LeBron's hometown Cleveland Browns. He may not be as recognizable in the pop culture landscape as his fellow Browns wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., but his on-field production recently landed him the third-highest contract for an active NFL wide receiver. Perhaps signing with Team LeBron could help raise Landry’s off-field clout.
Megan Rapinoe captured America's heart when she led the United States women's national soccer team to win the 2019 World Cup, the same year she was named the best women's player in the world. Still, it's Rapinoe's outspoken activism that shines brightest, as she has never been one to shy away from speaking out on social, racial, and political issues. There's little denying that Rapinoe and James are two of the most revered activists in sports and that they would make a formidable team.
Virgil van Dijk
You're probably thinking that we could have gone with other younger, more high-profile footballers, but our reasoning is simple; Virgil van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the world and plays for Liverpool, of which LeBron is part-owner. Van Dijk might be our first choice footballer for Team LeBron but he certainly won’t be the last.