Nike is probably the most iconic sneaker company in the known universe. They’re so big that fish in the Mariana Trench could probably recognize the “Swoosh”, and not just because we’ve thrown so much trash into the oceans. They’re so big that an endorsement by the company can make a career or, as we recently saw, stir up some controversy. Being part of the Nike brand instantly makes someone legit.
And now, eSports can claim its first Nike endorsed player with Jian ‘Uzi’ Zihao.
Uzi, a member of the Chinese League of Legends team Royal Never Give Up, will be joining LeBron James in his “Dribble” campaign as well as appearing on Showtime’s new series Shut Up and Dribble.
Just 21-years-old, Uzi has already won the gold medal at the Asian Games and got his own Chinese State TV documentary. When I was 21, I once ate just peas for dinner, then got drunk and puked them up in my friend’s backyard. I guess me and Uzi are pretty much the same.
This is a big step forward for eSports – having a member of the community being endorsed by one of the biggest apparel companies in the world is kind of like when Henry Hill gets arrested for the first time…
Obviously, eSports has a way to go before any player gets their own sneaker ala Michael Jordan, but one thing Nike has made clear is that the company that makes sports gear believes League of Legends – and games in general – are a sport.
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