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Lemieux, Nike go separate ways

While Nike welcomes LeBron James into its fold, Mario Lemieux is quietly slipping out.

Updated: October 28, 2003, 9:04 PM ET
By Wayne Karl | Special to ESPN.com

The deal made headlines when it was announced in January 2001: Mario Lemieux, who had just returned to the NHL after a three-year absence, would sign a groundbreaking endorsement deal as the signature athlete for Nike brand hockey equipment.

It was a bit of an odd sight at first, one of the greatest players ever to play the game donning the famous -- but still relatively young and unproven in hockey circles -- Nike swoosh. The head-to-toe deal required Lemieux to use customized versions ...

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