Lebron James branded Footwear sales growth accelerated through the NBA playoffs and is reaccelerating NKE's share gain in the basketball category (chart 1). Although Lebron branded sales have grown as a percent of the overall Nike basketball portfolio (Nike, Brand Jordan, Converse), NKE appears to be recapturing some of the 400bps of share lost in the category over the past year (chart 2). Share gain in basketball suggests that Lebron branded footwear is adding incremental sales to Nike’s dominant portfolio as opposed to cannibalizing other brands.
Interestingly, after scoring 26 of Miami’s 121 points in game 5, James became only the 5th player in NBA history to register a triple-double (double-digit total in 3 of the 5 basketball stats, i.e. points, rebounds, assists) in a title-clinching game… Good for business.
Ultimately, NKE is a $20bn+ Global enterprise and although a single athlete in a single category won’t make or break the company, Lebron James appears to be moving the needle in a category that we estimate accounts for ~36% of footwear sales (note: FW accounts for ~55% of NKE sales globally).