Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has left the Nike fold to sign a shoe deal with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning. McCollum announced the move on Friday via his twitter account.
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
As Trail Blazers writer Casey Holdahl reports, McCollum is not the first NBA player to join Li-Ning. Blazers swingman Evan Turner and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade also represent the company. Holdahl takes an extensive look at the budding relationship, quoting McCollum on his feelings toward Nike and the advantages of joining an international label:
“I think there was mutual admiration,” said McCollum. “I think they felt like I could bring a unique perspective, a unique individual to the brand, a guy who’s in his mid-20s, continuing to get better and becoming more well known around, not only the United States but the world, as a basketball player and as an influencer. I think it made sense for both of us to at least sit down and have that talk, have that discussion. I think I can represent the brand well on and off the court. I feel like we can continue to expand and we have some potential ideas that will allow myself to help the brand and allow them to help me as an individual.”
McCollum has been with Nike for all four years of his NBA career.