Florida A&M University and Nike Inc. have agreed upon a six-year deal that will begin July 1, 2021.
The partnership between FAMU and Nike has lasted well over 20 years, but this is the first time Lakers forward LeBron James would be in the mix of things. Nike will supply the Florida A&M Athletics department with footwear, uniforms, and apparel that is a signature branded by James himself.
On March 2, in a game between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, James wore the Lebron 18 P.E. “FAMU” colorway shoes. The shoes featured orange and light green colors, insoles customized with FAMU’s Rattler mascot and LeBron James’ signature as well as the acronym FAMU prominent on the heel of the shoe.
He even went as far as giving those a sneak peek into the huge announcement on his Instagram profile where he arrived at Staples Center holding the shoes in his hand with the caption titled, “[I’ll] tell you a secret if you can keep shhh.”
LeBron James has been well regarded as not only the greatest basketball player of all-time but a leader and advocate off the court, for subjects that matter to him the most.
“Nike has long supported Florida A&M Athletics, and I am committed to lifting HBCUs, so I was happy I rocked a pair of the PEs in-game and showcased a piece of what’s to come for the men’s and women’s basketball programs,” James said.
Not only will the sponsorship work with the basketball programs, but the deal also includes other athletic programs.
“Through our continued relationship with Florida A&M Athletics, we’ll have the opportunity to partner with some of the country’s preeminent student-athletes and the next generation of leaders,” said Sonja Henning, Nike’s VP of League Partnerships for North America.
In addition, Nike will offer internships, coordinate networking opportunities for Florida A&M students, and service apparel for the Marching 100. Florida A&M track student-athlete, Zoe Hightower, was gracious to hear that LeBron James has such admiration for the university.
“We are so appreciative to have someone so well-known representing our school by gaining more recognition. I think more people would value black athletes as a whole coming from HBCUs and not only PWI’s,” Hightower said.
Given that there hasn’t been any indication thus far of the special edition LeBron 18 shoes being released on the open market, second-year student Darryl Smith shared his thoughts on the hypothetical situation if they did happen to be sold in-stores or online.
“I was definitely already thinking about getting a pair just because it represents my school, they’re LeBron’s and they look visually pleasing. It’s a perfect combination, you can’t beat that, ” Smith said.
The highest of seven hills is thrilled with this amazing news striking campus and hopes to spark inspiration for the support of black culture and other HBCUs.