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Spencer Haywood: Story about the missed opportunity that comes once in a lifetime

It was in late 2015 when LeBron James inked a deal with Nike that is valued at more than $500 million. This is by any standards a whole lot of money LeBron will make aside to what he made when playing for the Cavs and now the Lakers.

But even that deal is nothing compared to an offer basketball Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood passed up from Nike during his 14-year-long career.

Detroit native Haywood entered early in the NBA and once even sued the NBA in order to have permission to make the NBA debut with the Seattle SuperSonics at the age of 21. Early in his career, he was approached by Nike with an exciting offer: He would either get $100,000 or 10 percent of the company in exchange for promoting the company's apparel, in this case, it was their shoes.

If you're looking from a perspective of someone in 2018, this decision would be a no-brainer. However, at that time, Nike was a relatively unknown brand and was working under the name of Blue Ribbon Sports. Afterward, they changed their name to Nike Inc. in 1971. Haywood took advice from people close to him and choose to take the cash instead.

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Haywood would nevertheless have a successful career becoming a gold medalist in the 1968 Olympics, and was considered as one of the best forward in league's history and even won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers back in 1980. However, when you look at the deal with Nike, his 10 percent in the company would now be worth close to $9 billion.

It's safe to say Haywood missed a chance of a lifetime to be completely set for the rest of his life outside of his success on the basketball court.

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