Not everyone can be Kevin Durant, i.e. kicking back while the Big 3 sneaker companies – Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour – all clamor to sign you to an nine-figure shoe deal. Yet there are plenty of other opportunities out there for professional athletes who are on the up and up but who may not quite be on the same superstar marketability echelon.
For instance, Klay Thompson made headlines earlier this summer when he signed a 10-year deal to remain with Chinese shoe company Anta for a reported $80 million (despite previous signs that he was less than thrilled with their products). Now, another Chinese company has staged a coup by signing Blazers guard C.J. McCollum.
McCollum announced his partnership with Li-Ning via Instagram on Friday.
“I’m excited to announce my new parternship with the Li-Ning family. Looking forward to working with and expanding my brand in the east. Great things to come in the future. With hard work… Anything is possible.”
McCollum joins teammate Evan Turner as one of the brand’s endorsers, and he isn’t the first high-profile NBA star among their ranks: Baron Davis and Shaquille O’Neal have both had sponsorship deals with Li-Ning. But perhaps most famously, Dwyane Wade made the jump from Jordan Brand to launch his popular “Way of Wade” with Li-Ning in 2012.
It wasn’t clear from his post whether a signature shoe is in the works, but that’s certainly the next logical step. Either way, a deal like this is a major milestone in any pro athlete’s career.