LeBron James could take next Liverpool step after Nike release new kit

LeBron James could take next Liverpool step after Nike release new kit

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Liverpool fans have been waiting for months to see their new Nike kit for next season, and do not have to wait any longer.

The home shirt for 2020/21 was unveiled this morning and there could be plenty more interesting news as further Nike releases and developments follow.

Back in January, basketball legend LeBron James posted on Instagram with a picture of the Liverpool crest on a red background, just days after the Nike deal was officially confirmed. Among the comments underneath was one from his business partner, Maverick Carter, which said: “x Reds coming soon”, perhaps hinting at a future collaboration.

James, who won three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, and two Olympic gold medals, bought a minority two per cent stake in Liverpool in 2011.

That stake was worth around $6.5 million at the time, but by last year, some estimates had suggested that the value of the share is now roughly six times that amount.

Speaking on a special ‘Inside FSG’ podcast on the Blood Red channel recently, Liverpool.com’s Ollie Connelly, who has extensive experience covering US sports including the Boston Red Sox, who are also owned by the group, suggested that while little is known about James’ role, it could be about to become clear.

He said: “His discussions about Liverpool beyond what I see publicly of the Instagram stuff and the tweets is very, very private, which is very unusual for him.

“I have to imagine that it is mostly just media rights and strategy and stuff, but I don’t see any kind of long-term ‘LeBron vision’ with the club.

“The stuff he does ordinarily, he has a massive hand on and he is broadcast everywhere, but aside from a few photo opportunities at games, he is not really a present figure. There’s nothing day-to-day.

“But now Liverpool go to Nike, we will definitely see some kind of collaboration, whether it is a shoe or a range of clothing maybe. That is when it starts to get really interesting.

Front page of the Liverpool ECHO as Nike kit released
Front page of the Liverpool ECHO as Nike kit released

*Buy a copy of today’s souvenir edition ECHO to mark the Nike kit launch.

“It’s one of the biggest football clubs on earth so of course, Nike wanted to be involved but maybe he had some kind of help there, because he is one of the few people on earth who can walk straight into the boardroom.

“Something as simple as if he puts on his shoes ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and he uses it as a double-message to himself but also to advertise the club… it’s already a universal message associated with the club, but it goes tenfold when LeBron James wears it.

“It becomes a talking point, it goes into the Chinese market, and has a level of visibility that the club itself has in some markets, but in other certain markets, he outsells the club.”

The Chinese market is something that Liverpool have been keen to move into the recent past, with speculation over the past couple of years surrounding potential investment from that region.

Liverpool Nike kit release

FSG always denied that they were looking to sell the club, but were open to investment and a partial stake being sold in order to move the club onto the next level financially and better compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea.

With fans in all corners of the globe, there are few areas of the world that Liverpool have not yet maximised, but China is thought to be one of them.

A minority stake being sold never materialised but the decision to remain as majority owners has paid dividends, with the Reds now estimated to be worth around £1.7 billion more than what FSG paid for the club in 2010.

Liverpool recognise that in order to be as successful as possible on the pitch, they must also be successful off it.

*Listen to the full FSG, Boston Red Sox and John W Henry podcast HERE 

Michael Jordan’s brand with Nike is already in place at PSG. Last September 2018, the French club and Jordan launched a new collection of over 90 performance, training and lifestyle products, including a first-team shirt which they debuted in the opening game of last season’s Champions League group stages at Anfield.

The products featured the PSG club crest and the Jordan Brand’s ‘Jumpman’ logo, the iconic image of the NBA legend, which replaced the famous Nike swoosh.

Could something similar be in the pipeline with James and Liverpool in the future, be that this year or in the coming seasons?

Possibly. But for now, Reds fans can read all about the home strip that has just been revealed.

This article was first published on July 13 and has been updated on August 1





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