DeMar DeRozan turned his dominant first season with the Chicago Bulls into another big payday.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the five-time All-Star has inked a fresh four-year contract with Nike. The deal will reportedly keep him as the “featured face” of Kobe Bryant’s brand.
DeRozan’s idolization of the late Bryant has been well-documented since his high school years. Much of his midrange prowess we see today reflects Bryant’s elite offensive game, and DeRozan has consistently praised the Lakers’ legend for turning him into the player he is today.
“For me, personally, he meant everything to me basketball-wise,” DeRozan said earlier this season on the two-year anniversary of Bryant’s passing. “That’s well documented. A mentor of mine, a friend of mine, someone who taught me a big part of the game and motivated me to have the mentality that I have today. Just with that alone, that should speak for itself for what it meant to me and what today meant.”
DeRozan has honored his hero by wearing his kicks since the shoes first came out. With that in mind, I can’t imagine how meaningful it must be to know Nike wants him to continue that tradition and be a spokesperson for the iconic brand.
DeRozan has touched on his relationship with Bryant’s signature shoe many times, including most recently on an episode of Complex’s Sneaker Shopping that aired back in March. Not only did he claim that “nobody in the league has more Kobes than me,” but he made clear that there is “no chance” he ever runs out.
“My first pair of Kobes were actually from Kobe,” DeRozan told Complex. “They were the Kobe 1s. He gave them to me. That 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 kind of started from there. I just kind of kept it going.”
In case you’re curious, here’s a look back at some of the Kobes we got to see DeRozan sport this season:
Anyway, congrats to DeMar! I can’t wait to see which shoes he grabs out of the vault this season.