Having signed a billion-dollar, lifetime deal, LeBron James was going to be a large part of Nike’s plans, irrespective of where he also played. But soon after his signing with the Lakers, Nike’s marketing teams at Beaverton, Oregon, and Los Angeles went to over drive. The company instantly set up billboards steps apart from Staples Center — a vertical picture of James in the Lakers’ home uniform towered more than 30 floors, and also an iconic tomahawk dunk image from his 2003 rookie debut overtook the full width of the JW Marriott building.

While the colorways for its first 50% of this season for James’ trademark LeBron 16 sneaker were spelled out before free service, Nike is working up additional L.A.-specific topics and stories linking back to the franchise and the region’s heritage.

Despite the increased L.A. focus, Nike is staying linked to LeBron’s Ohio home. Throughout the Lakers’ opening weekend, the firm commissioned an art installation composed of seven surfboards comprising James from Lakers colors. Those planks will likely be raffled at a design, with all proceeds going to James’ I Promise School at Akron, merely one of the many ways Nike will encourage James’ off-court efforts while providing his on-court footwear.


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