Nike’s Jordan Brand has made a leap (and presumably a very lucrative one) into China, signing their first Chinese Basketball Association player, Guo Ailun.
The 23-yeard old, 6-4 190 lb. point guard is one of China’s most popular basketball players with 1.6 million followers on the countries Facebook/Twitter hybrid, Sina Weibo (however, the sites most popular follow, Xie Na, has over 88 million) and has signed a deal worth approximately $1.4m per year.
He most recently had a $1.1m deal with Li-Ning the current sponsor of Dwyane Wade.
Ailun has played for the Liaoning Flying Leopards since 2010 and in the process has collected 3 CBA All-Star selections en route to becoming one of the most exciting talents in a league, let’s face it, devoid of talent (with the exception of Upstate New York’s own, Jimmer Fredette).
Guo Ailun going head-to-head against Glens Falls native and CBA International MVP, Jimmer Fredette
In this past season, Ailun averaged a career high 19.9 PPG and shot nearly 40% from 3-point range on over 4.5 attempts per game.
His PER (take with a grain of salt, this metric in general and the league Ailun is playing in) rating of 19.68, which would put him in the ballpark of CJ McCollum, Goran Dragic and George Hill in terms of NBA comparisons.
Below is the highlight tape from his career high 43-point performance against Shan Xi in a multi-OT thriller (where he takes a vicious elbow from none other than Philadelphia 76ers legend, Samuel Dalembert).
He shows a knack for finishing around the rim while simultaneously putting on a Steph Curry-esque effort from behind the arc, but it is important to mention the absolute abymsal defense on display here by all those involved and touch fouls were called at a premium, which might explain the combined 300+ points scored.
In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Ailun averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 assists, while producing the (likely) lone highlight for China against the United States, where he crossed up (I guess) New York Knick (sigh) Carmelo Anthony:
While obviously possessing some considerable talent, Jordan Brand isn’t signing a goody two-shoes to its roster that already is home to 21 active NBA players.
Ailun was suspended for 1-year from China’s senior national team after exhibiting problematic behavior at the 2011 U-19 World Championships and was also involved in a fight with fans at a hotel in March of 2016.
After going undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft and with few rumblings of serious NBA potential circulating, it seems that the latest Jordan Brand addition may be destined for a career overseas, which arguably could be more valuable to the brand.
Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
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