Nike has signed an endorsement deal with Royal Never Give Up AD Carry Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao.
Uzi is featured in a new Nike advertisement alongside Basketball star Lebron James and Chinese actor Bai Jingting. The ad is for James’ “Dribble &” ad campaign supporting his upcoming documentary series, “Shut Up & Dribble.”
This is the first time Nike has partnered with an esports athlete. Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give Up has signed one-year deals with major companies such as Mercedes Benz and KFC this year, but the Nike partnership is exclusive to Uzi.
When it comes to the collaboration itself, it’s hard to imagine a player more fitting than Uzi. Royal Never Give Up has won the 2018 LPL Spring Playoffs, the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, and the 2018 LPL Summer Playoffs. Uzi also represented China in the 2018 Asian Games, where he and his Chinese compatriots took home the gold in the very first League of Legends tournament in Asian Games history. He is considered by many to be the best League of Legends player in the world today, making him a fitting representative of the scene.
The “Dribble &” t-shirts feature a blank box with different text written into the specialized version suited for each individual. Uzi is not just the main carry of RNG, he is the ONLY carry — his team plays exclusively through him.
As Lebron James has learned through his career to bring out the best in his teammates, Uzi is aware that his ability to carry is a product of the team and not just himself. In his contribution to a Players’ Lobby piece entitled “Perseverance”, Uzi emphasized the importance of teamwork and the amount of credit that is due to his teammates for helping him to reach such lofty heights.
Uzi and his teammates on RNG will face G2 Esports in the World Championship quarterfinals on October 20.