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 CLEVELAND (AP) -LeBron James has teamed up with a good neighbor.
The Cavaliers' All-Star forward has signed a sponsorship agreement with State Farm insurance, which is hoping the popular 23-year-old can help it attract young adult policy holders.
Terms were not disclosed.
``The relationship will be focused on helping connect our State Farm brand and products - particularly our auto and renters insurance - to a young audience in new and relevant ways.'' said Pam El, State Farm's vice president of marketing.
As part of its relationship, State Farm will use James in some commercials as well as at public appearances, El said.
James' deal will be formally announced at a playground ribbon-cutting on Thursday in New Orleans, site of Sunday's NBA All-Star game. James will dedicate a new playground at the St. Bernard Recreation Center, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt in 2006.
State Farm, based in Bloomington, Ill., sponsored the playground project, the first installation of a national initiative by James' family foundation.
goals and values, especially when it comes to improving the lives of people across the country and making a real impact in the communities that they live in,'' James said.
James, a State Farm customer since 2004, has other deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Upper Deck and others. Fortune Magazine estimated he has about $170 million in endorsements.
Forbes Magazine estimated James made $27 million, including his $13 million from the Cavs, from June 2006 to June 2007. His endorsements are handled by LRMR Marketing and Branding, a company James founded with three friends.
The partnership deal with State Farm comes two weeks after James was ordered to pay $259 in fines and court costs for driving 101 mph on his 23rd birthday in December. The insurance provider said the speeding ticket had no bearing on its decision to team up with James.
``LeBron has publicly admitted his mistake,'' said El, who first met James at last year's All-Star game. ``He has strong principles and we decided he would be a good match for us.''
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On the Net:
State Farm: http://www.statefarm.com
James' foundation: http://www.LeBron.msn.com

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