When Nike signed 18-year-old basketball sensation LeBron James to a $90 million endorsement deal, skeptics wondered if it might be unwise to bet on a pitchman with zero NBA court-time. But after James's NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, it looks like Nike's going to be ok. The Cavs lost, but LeBron's impressive performance -- 25 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds -- could mean a big win for Nike. The debut, against the Sacramento Kings, grabbed higher ratings than all but one of ESPN's 69 regular games last season. And Nike's new $160 James-designed shoe, Zoom Generation, got camera time as well, both on James's feet and when ESPN broadcaster Jim Gray held up the sneakers mid-game to deliver a marketing spiel. Then, there was the premier of Nike's first LeBron-centric TV spot, which cleverly played off fears that Nike would be left with $90 million down the drain. The ad shows the Cavs playing the Kings (just like in real life!), and when James first gets hold of the ball, he freezes for what seems like an eternity. The arena goes silent. Sportwriters say what a shame it is that he's is choking. Then, James looks straight at the camera, smirks, and runs toward the hoop. Of course, in a real game, this would result in a 5-second possession violation. And Nike's ad suffers from being about 15 seconds too long, though I'm sure they will edit it for subsequent airings.