I know Adidas is feeling good lately with their highly popular NMD series, not too mention all the hype anytime a pair of Yeezy’s releases but they actually missed a chance to be on a much higher level. Prior to Lebron James rookie season, Adidas had a very good opportunity to sign Bron to their brand before Nike did but after reportedly shorting him by $30 million dollars than what was talked about, they made his decision easy to go with Nike.


According to one of the most powerful men ever in the sneaker industry, Sonny Vaccaro, Adidas all but had Lebron locked up but a huge change in last minute paperwork that was supposed to be a 10 year/$100 million dollar deal, both embarrassed him and pushed Lebron out the door. Here’s what Vaccaro told The Ringer.

That number, I talked to [Adidas’s owners], looked them in the eye … and said, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’ And they said, ‘Yes.’ I never would have [offered $100 million] to LeBron James [if they hadn’t said yes]. I mean, what advantage was that, to lie? They OK’ed it. So they knew, $100 million. I didn’t spring it on them that day. They knew for nine months.

So now we come down to the presentation. We bring him and his whole team on. Private airplane. We’re going to get them [to] a Lakers playoff game. Imagine in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and we lay out the plan. And the number [was] supposed to be $100 million. I sat down that day [with] Gloria James, [LeBron’s] lawyer, and … LeBron, and all these people. I saw the contract. It wasn’t $100 million. It was like $70 million, and they had incentives on it.

It wasn’t so much the number, $70 million or $100 million, because $70 million was a hell of a lot of money, right? But you have to understand what it was to me. The reason I was, and I still am respected, I believe, in that world, is [that] if I said something to you, you [would] believe me. If we had a deal, we had a deal. [Adidas] changed the number on me. I’ll never forget that as long as I live.

We went to a little corner of this mansion. Gloria, me, LeBron … and I apologized. I’ll never forget what they did. They put their arms around me and they said, “Sonny, we understand. We know what you did. We’re going to be fine.”

Could you imagine how different things would be if Adidas made the deal happen? While $70 million is still a huge amount of money short changing someone by $30 million, is also a huge amount of money.

Vaccaro was honest, adding that even if Adidas came with the correct offer, there was a chance Nike still would have won out with Bron because they were offering more per year with a 7 year/$90 million dollar deal. Still, you have to at least wonder how differently things would have gone if the money was right.