Retired in 2020 due to chronic health issues, Uzi is one of the most successful League of Legends players to have emerged since the game’s debut in 2009.
What Happened: On October 26, sportswear giant Nike sparked online buzz among the Chinese esports community thanks to its partnership with pro League of Legends player Jian Zihao (professionally known as Uzi). The collaboration marks the first time that the brand has signed a deal with an esports athlete. The announcement video featuring his voiceover racked up over 2 million views on Weibo within just one day.
Retired in 2020 due to chronic health issues, Uzi is one of the most successful League of Legends players to have emerged since the game’s debut in 2009. Despite his departure, he is still widely recognized among local esports players and enthusiasts. According to a statement, “Uzi will not only inject vitality to the Nike community, but will also inspire more young people to stick to their passions, as well as find new inspiration and creativity in sports.”
The Jing Take: Nike’s bet on the mainland’s esports market started in 2019, when the apparel corporation signed a four-year deal with the League of Legends Pro League in China, supplying every squad with sneakers, casual clothing, and eventually professional jerseys. And now, with Uzi on board, the label is doubling down on the surging esports sector.