Jordan Brand signs Guo Ailun as 1st Chinese signature athlete

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REUTERS/Jim Young / Action Images

Jordan Brand just signed the best guard from China.

Guo Ailun, a rising star in the Chinese Basketball Association, became the first Chinese basketball player to receive his own signature Jordan shoe, as reported by ESPN's Nick DePaula.

The 23-year-old from Liaoyang will earn $3 million annually on his endorsement deal as Jordan looks to establish its influence over the insatiable market for basketball in China.

"The fans here in China are all proud of me," Guo told DePaula. "My teammates always tease me though, and ask for free Jordans."

Guo led his hometown club to two CBA Finals appearances in 2015 and 2016. On a national level, Guo ranks alongside Yi Jianlian as the two leading figures on the Chinese national team. Guo even holds ambitions of eventually crossing the Pacific and joining the NBA someday.

"CBA is a really competitive league, and I think I can keep improving there," Guo said. "Once I feel ready and at that level, I want to go to the NBA."

The vast majority of Chinese players in the NBA have been big men, but Guo is a promising combo guard who can contribute on or off the ball. Guo plays with a bold flair that is often lacking in Chinese guards, and his style of play is already wildly popular among CBA fans.