After a huge breakout in the NBA Bubble, Jimmy Butler has signed a signature shoe deal with Chinese apparel company Li-Ning to become the “face of the brand” in place of fellow Heat icon Dwyane Wade, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN.
BREAKING: Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has agreed to a significant multi-year signature shoe deal with Li-Ning.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) November 19, 2020
Seeing the deal listed as “significant” is great sign for Butler’s pocketbook as he becomes an increasingly prominent face of the league. Butler led the Heat to an unexpected run all the way to Game 6 of the NBA Finals, going toe-to-toe with LeBron James for large parts of the series.
The deal with Li-Ning comes after Butler took his Big Face Coffee brand to the next level through a partnership with Peloton, which developed Big Face merch for Butler to wear in the Bubble. Butler also appeared in a big Michelob Ultra ad spot throughout the NBA playoffs in which he belted out a wonderful rendition of “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates.
Pro hoopers have in many instances recently gone to Chinese brands for apparel and shoe deals as money begins to flow there at an even larger scale and competition increases for deals with American companies like Nike and adidas. Current players like C.J. McCollum and D’Angelo Russell have deals with Li-Ning, while Wade has a lifetime deal with the company.