In December, LeBron James inked the largest contract in Nike history with a lifetime deal.
Last night, he reminded the world why.
Earning the NBA Finals 2016 Most Valuable Player by unanimous vote, James led the Cavaliers to not only the first championship in the team's history, he ended a 52-year major sports championship drought in Cleveland.
The win also rewrote a page in NBA history books, as the Cavaliers overcame insurmountable odds as the first franchise in the league to recover after being down 3-1 in a series.
Hedging their bets on their signature athlete, Nike was ready.
A video entitled "Worth the Wait" - which hit YouTube shortly after Cleveland's win over the Golden State Warriors - is an homage to King James, the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland. The one-minute "goose-bump eliciting" clip depicts the jubilation of Cavalier fans in the aftermath of witnessing history.
True to form, the retail giant is also releasing the Zoom LeBron Soldier 10 on Tuesday via NIKEiD -- which James debuted during Game 4 of the series. The new kick features a flexible stretch-lined upper, responsive Zoom Air cushioning and straps on the forefoot, midfoot and ankle.
James initially signed with Nike out of high school in 2003 for a reported $90 million. Insiders hinted that the renewed lifetime deal with LeBron could be worth more than $1billion, making it the largest single athlete guarantee in the sports apparel company's history. When critics questioned it's value, Nike said in a statement,
"We have already built a strong LeBron business over the past 12 years, and we see the potential for this to continue to grow throughout his playing career and beyond."
Nike knew, James would deliver.
In July 2014, James promised Cavs' fans upon his return from a four season-run with the Miami Heat that he would bring the NBA title back to his hometown. Despite his emotionally reactive departure to Miami and then return, loyalists stood by him over the years. As time on the clock expired at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, James- who literally collapsed under the weight of the moment, releasing a lifetime's worth of emotions said,
"I'm home. This is what I came back for."
Fans knew, James would deliver.
Defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89, in one of the greatest games in the history of the league- to Nike, and the entire city of Cleveland, LeBron James proved...
...it was "worth the wait".