Report: LeBron James leaving Coke for Pepsi, will be face of new Mountain Dew line

Jack Baer
·2 min read

Don’t expect to see LeBron James in any Sprite commercials going forward.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is preparing to add PepsiCo as a sponsor after nearly two decades as a pitchman for The Coca-Cola Company, according to Front Office Sports.

James will reportedly become the face of Mountain Dew’s upcoming “Rise Energy” line, joining a group of basketball players pitching the soda that include Zion Williamson, Joel Embiid, Jamal Murray and A’ja Wilson. There could also reportedly be some integration with the Blaze Pizza chain, a company that is 10 percent owned by James and currently offers only Coke products.

Representatives of PepsiCo and James reportedly declined comment on the matter.

Coca-Cola has been a LeBron James sponsor since the beginning

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13:  Professional basketball player LeBron James poses on the green carpet before the Sprite Obey Your Thirst Concert featuring hip-hop artists Drake, Nas and Q-Tip at Irving Plaza in New York City on Friday, Feb. 13.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images For Sprite)
LeBron James has been a Sprite pitchman since he was a rookie. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images For Sprite)

If this really is the end of James relationship with Coca-Cola, it will mark the end of a sponsorship that goes back to his rookie year in 2003.

A then-18-year-old James signed with Coke before playing his first NBA game, becoming a longstanding spokesperson for the company’s Sprite and Powerade brands. He has been a regular in commercials for both drinks ever since, and even received his own “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James” drink in 2014.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told Front Office Sports that James’ deal with the company expired in September:

“LeBron’s contract came up at a time when both he and The Coca-Cola Company were actively reviewing all of its resources to make sure it was investing in places that ensured long-term growth,” Coca-Cola said. “After many discussions with Lebron and his team, we mutually agreed to part ways.”

In addition to Coke, James signed with Nike, Bubblicious gum, Juice Batteries and Upper Deck trading cards as a rookie, according to Forbes.

James’ deal with Nike, the heaviest hitter of the original group, is at least going strong. He signed a lifetime deal with the company in 2016.

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