DeMar DeRozan turned his dominant first season with the Chicago Bulls into another big payday.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the five-time All-Star has signed a new four-year contract with Nike. The deal would keep him as the “star face” of Kobe Bryant’s brand.
DeRozan’s idolization of the late Bryant is well documented from his high school days. Much of his midrange prowess we see today reflects Bryant’s elite offensive play, and DeRozan has always praised the Lakers legend for shaping him into the player he is today.
“To me, personally, he meant everything to me in basketball terms,” DeRozan said earlier this season on the second anniversary of Bryant’s passing. “It’s well documented. A mentor of mine, a friend of mine, someone who taught me so much about the game and motivated me to have the mindset I have today. That alone should speak for itself for what it meant to me and what it meant today.
DeRozan has honored his hero by wearing his kicks since the shoes released. With that in mind, I can’t imagine how meaningful it must be to know that Nike wants him to carry on that tradition and be the spokesperson for the iconic brand.
DeRozan has repeatedly discussed his relationship with Bryant’s signature shoe, including most recently on an episode of Complex’s Sneaker Shopping that aired in March. Not only did he claim that “no one in the league has more Kobes than I do,” he clarified that there was “zero chance” he would ever run out.
“My first pair of Kobes actually came from Kobe,” DeRozan told Complex. “They were the Kobe 1s. He gave them to me. It was just a relationship I had with him. I think it started when I was 15 or 16. By the time the Kobe 1s came out, it was my senior year in high school so i think it was ’07-’08 he gave me the first pair and it kinda started from there i just kind of carried on .
In case you’re curious, here’s a look at some of the Kobes we’ve seen in the DeRozan sport this season:
Either way, congratulations to DeMar! I can’t wait to see what shoes he pulls out of the boot this season.