|Full Name:||Christian James McCollum|
|Place of Birth:||Canton, Ohio|
|Parents:||Errick McCollum, Kathy Andrews|
C.J. McCollum is an American basketball player who currently plays shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers. He was born Christian James McCollum on September 19, 1991, in Canton, Ohio, where he spent the early part of his life. McCollum was a standout player in college at Lehigh, helping the Mountain Hawks reach the NCAA Tournament twice in his four years. In 2012, McCollum helped Lehigh to a memorable upset over the Duke Blue Devils in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2013, the Trail Blazers made McCollum the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft. He spent the early part of his career serving as a backup to point guard Damian Lillard. However, McCollum’s career took off after moving to shooting guard, allowing him to play alongside Lillard. During the 2015-16 season, McCollum averaged 20.8 points and 4.3 assists per game, earning him the league’s Most-Improved Player Award. After that, he and Lillard continued to form one of the most potent backcourts in the NBA, ultimately leading the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals in 2019.
As a freshman in high school, McCollum was just 5-foot-2 tall. However, he was able to play varsity basketball because of his tremendous athleticism and shooting ability. Eventually, he grew to be 6-feet tall by the end of his high school career, putting him on the radar for college basketball programs. During his senior season, McCollum averaged 29.3 points per game, eventually graduating as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
McCollum chose to play college basketball for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks of the Patriot League. He made an instant impact as a freshman, starting 31 of 33 games and averaging 19.1 points per game. He became the first player in Patriot League history to win both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year the same season. McCollum was also an honorable mention All-American and helped Lehigh reach the NCAA Tournament, scoring 26 points in a losing effort against Kansas in the First Round.
Despite averaging 21.8 points and 7.8 rebounds during his sophomore season, McCollum lost out on Patriot League Player of the Year honors. He posted comparable numbers as a junior, winning conference Player of the Year honors for the second time. More importantly, he led the Mountain Hawks back to the NCAA Tournament. In the First Round, McCollum’s 30 points helped No. 15 seed Lehigh upset No. 2 seed Duke.
Despite his heroics against Duke putting him on the NBA’s radar, McCollum returned to Lehigh for his senior year. Early in the season, he became the all-time leading scorer in Patriot League history. However, McCollum suffered a broken foot in early January, ending his senior season. In May of 2013, he graduated from Lehigh with a degree in journalism.
The Portland Trail Blazers selected McCollum with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. However, McCollum didn’t make his NBA debut until January 2014 and played just 38 games during his rookie season. He started 40 games during his second pro season but averaged just 6.8 points per game.
Ahead of the 2015-16 season, the departure of multiple players created an opening for McCollum to become Portland’s starting shooting guard. Rather than playing a complementary role to star point guard Damian Lillard, McCollum started to play alongside Lillard, forming a potent backcourt tandem. McCollum’s productivity skyrocketed, as he averaged 20.8 points per game and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
During the summer of 2016, McCollum signed a four-year extension with the Trail Blazers, solidifying his spot as an important part of the team’s future. While he continued to be somewhat overshadowed by Lillard, McCollum continued to average over 20 points per game as the team’s starting shooting guard. Together, he and Lillard led the Trail Blazers to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. The following summer, McCollum signed a three-year, $100 million extension to remain in Portland.
Heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, CJ McCollum had earned $60.2 million from his NBA salaries. Since his rookie contract, McCollum has signed multiple extensions with the Trail Blazers, including a three-year, $100 million extension in 2019. With that extension, his salary will increase to over $30 million during the 2021-22 season and over $35 million for the 2023-24 season, the final year of the deal.
Since being drafted, McCollum has signed several endorsement deals. That includes a five-year agreement with Chinese sneaker brand Li Ning. McCollum has also signed deals with AT&T, Jamba Juice, Moda Health, Beats Electronics, Panini, and Levi Strauss & Co.
C.J. McCollum signed a four-year, $10.4 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2013.
C.J. McCollum signed a four-year, $106 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2016.
C.J. McCollum signed a three-year, $100 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019.
McCollum was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, to parents Errick McCollum I and Kathy Andrews. His older brother Errick is a professional basketball player who has played with teams in Israel, Greece, China, Turkey, and Russia.
In 2018, McCollum became engaged to longtime girlfriend Elise Esposito. The couple has been together since college. Esposito also graduated from Lehigh in 2013 before pursuing a Master’s degree and a doctorate in dentistry.