NBL Next Star RJ Hampton has inked a five-year deal with Chinese footwear and appeal company Li-Ning.
Hampton, who joined the New Zealand Breakers earlier this year under the NBL Next Stars program, also received interest from global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour, according to ESPN.
However, Hampton says Li-Ning’s support of his decision to play in the NBL was a driving factor towards him signing with the company.
“They’re just a great company,” Hampton said, via ESPN.
“They’ve put a lot of work in with me, and they’ve really been behind me these last couple months, ever since I made my decision [to play in the NBL].
“Everyone [knows] Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, but I want to be the face of something global that’s bigger than just the US.
“I think with Li-Ning that I can do that.”
Li-Ning signed three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade in 2012, and have since made their mark in the basketball landscape, striking deals with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Baron Davis, CJ McCollum, Evan Turner and more.
“I really like their shoes,” Hampton said.
“[With] CJ and Dwyane Wade, it’s going to be great.
“Their belief in me was crazy. There’s really no pressure to live up to that deal. I think I deserve that deal, with the work that I’ve put in.”
A custom ‘RJH’ logo has already been created by Li-Ning, being used across shirts and shorts Hampton has been training in. He will also receive exclusive colourways of Li-Ning’s YuShuai XIII “Boom” shoe.
RJ’s father, Rod Hampton, spoke glowingly about Li-Ning and his son’s decision to partner with the brand.
“Li-Ning understands RJ has tremendous upside as a player, but also as a brand,” Rod Hampton said.
“It was a very thorough process with lots of interest, so we really took our time as a family and with our agents to fully evaluate the pros and cons of each company.
“The ability to build a signature shoe and develop RJ’s legacy together from day one is a special opportunity and everything we are looking for in a brand partner.
“This is a special opportunity for anyone, but especially an 18-year-old who is hungry to leave a lasting legacy.”
Hampton and the Breakers begin their 2019/20 NBL campaign on October 18 against Sydney.