After spending the past four seasons wearing Nike sneakers on the court, Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has signed an endorsement deal with Chinese shoe manufacturer Li-Ning. McCollum announced the new deal on Twitter over the weekend after Nike declined to match Li-Ning’s offer. McCollum told Blazers writer Casey Holdahl that current brand ambassadors in the league helped him make his decision.
Having a teammate, Evan Turner, as a part of the brand, having talked with [Dwyane] Wade these last few months and building a relationship with him, I was able to gain a better understanding of the brand, where they’re heading and how I can be a part of that.
McCollum also went on to talk about how he hopes the new deal will help him grow the league and gain more fans in the Chinese market, a place where the NBA has placed a significant amount of focus on as of late.
I think this partnership with Li-Ning will be great. Obviously being a Chinese brand, it’ll give me that exposure in the east and expose me to different opportunities, different potential partnerships on the business side in Asia. It’s just something that I’m really looking forward to.
McCollum will enter his fifth NBA season wearing Li-Ning models such as the Yushai 11, amongst others. Given the brand’s increased popularity and McCollum’s progression as a player, a signature shoe somewhere down the line isn’t out of the question. The new deal comes after the former Most Improved Player award winner averaged a career-high 22.5 points per game last season. In addition to his work on the court, McCollum is also known for his work off the court with the Players’ Tribune, such as his interview with league commissioner Adam Silver.
I’m excited to announce my new parternship with the Li-Ning family. With hard work.. Anything is possible pic.twitter.com/6KiVAEPwqB
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) October 7, 2017
Blazers guard @CJMcCollum confirms he’s signed a multi-year shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning.
Nike had “matching rights” and declined to match. CJ will wear the YuShuai 11 and other Li-Ning sneakers this season.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 7, 2017