LeBron James’ influence and altruism are showing within the Historically Black College and University spectrum.
On Sunday, Florida A&M University revealed the new uniforms from their athletic footwear and apparel partnership with “The King” and Nike.
— Florida A&M Athletics (@FAMUAthletics) November 7, 2021
The Rattlers’ King
James and Nike are utilizing a jointly branded promotional strategy. The two entities announced their partnership with FAMU back in March.
According to reports, the FAMU team sportswear will feature LeBron James’s signature LBJ logo and marching band apparel. When announced, it was the first co-branding for an HBCU with the official sportswear branding for the NBA’s top star.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 8, 2021
“FAMU is an elite institution with a rich tradition of firsts and our student-athletes deserve an experience that is second-to-none,” said FAMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Kortne Gosha when the partnership was first announced in March.
“My executive team and I are focused on setting a new standard. Our top priority is to align with the best quality and most innovative products, brands, and resources. This partnership allowed us to reimagine and challenge the norms of our industry.”
It accompanies the diligent push that former NFL star Deion Sanders has brought to Jackson State as their head coach. Deion coaches the team, but he has championed himself as the celebrity influencer to raise the profile of the entire HBCU sports system.
Sanders also had his sons Shedeur and Shilo playing for the school with an accompanying online-based reality show to heighten the HBCU athletic culture and lifestyle awareness.
As a result, Shedeur, the Jackson State quarterback, received a NIL deal to be a brand ambassador for Beats By Dre. The freshman QB is the first to be signed to the audio technology brand, also the first for an HBCU.
James’ alignment with Florida A&M University only expands the attention HBCUs receive on a national scale. It follows the decisions of many rising high school seniors who made their collegiate decisions to go to HBCUs during the protest movement.
In August 2020, five-star basketball prospect Makur Maker committed to the Howard University Bison over Division I schools. He had offers from Kentucky, Memphis, and UCLA but decided to attend The Capstone.
At the time, Maker became the highest-ranked prospect to commit to an HBCU, according to ESPN.
Earlier in 2018, Mo’ne Davis took her baseball talents to Hampton University after a famous Little League World Series appearance in 2014. She is the first girl to win and pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history.
A Kingly Legacy
James has been influential in the social justice movements and evening the playing field for African-Americans. He helped form More Than A Vote in 2020 dedicated to mobilizing voters and eliminating voter suppression for African-Americans.
— Joe Snow Sand Stark Targaryen (@jofree305) November 9, 2021
James also founded the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, in 2018. The LeBron James Family Foundation supported it and aimed at alleviating the issues facing at-risk children.
As the most significant basketball athlete-businessman of his generation, James’ foray into the elevation of HBCUs is on-brand for his philanthropic endeavors.