NBA indeed has exceptionally skilled athletes, and CJ McCollum is undoubtedly one of them.
Named as NBA Most Improved Player during the 2015-16 season, and two times Patriot League Player, CJ McCollum, famous as CJ, is an American professional basketball athlete of the NBA.
Even after being undersized during his high school career, CJ never gave up and continued to be a part of the school team.
McCollum is one of the most skilled athletes in the NBA that the world has known through his ambition and hard work.
Furthermore, let’s find more about the early life, flourishing career, and other details of this inspiring and driven athlete.
First, let’s look into some of McCollum’s quick facts.
CJ McCollum | Quick Facts
Christian James McCollum
September 19th, 1991
30 Years Old
“CJ,” “Chef CJ”
GlenOak High School, Lehigh University
Errick McCollum I
6’3” (1.91 m)
86 kg (190 lb)
Portland Trail Blazers
Professional Basketball Player
2013/ Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Career Highlights & Awards
NBA Most Improved Player- 2016
2× AP Honorable Mention All-American- 2010, 2012
2× Patriot League Player of the Year- 2010, 2012
3× First-team All-Patriot League- 2010–2012
Patriot League Rookie of the Year- 2010
No. 3 retired by Lehigh Mountain Hawks
CJ McCollum was born on 19th September 1991, in Canton, Ohio, to his parents Errick McCollum I and Kathy Andrews.
Also, he has an older sibling, Errick McCollum, a professional basketball player who plays for the EuroLeague and Khimki of the VTB United League.
According to the zodiac, CJ is a Virgo. Virgo’s are perceived as hard-working, reliable, and creative individuals. His talents on and off-court indeed portray all of these traits.
Age, Height, and Body Measurements
Moreover, McCollum is 30 years old as of now.
He would be soon stepping into his 30s this September. He stands at the height of 6’3” (1.91 m) and weighs 86 kg (190 lb).
Both of the McCollum brothers attended the same high school GlenOak High School in Plain Township, Ohio. Both of the brothers played for represented their high school team, the Golden Eagles.
For college, CJ attended Lehigh University, a private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He represented his college team, the Mountain Hawks.
CJ McCollum | Career and Profession
High school career
CJ’s passion for basketball has shined since his high school days. Although being considered undersized, with only five feet and two inches, he was never undiscouraged.
He played for his high school team, the Golden Eagles as a varsity player, depending on his athletic skills.
During his freshman year in 2005, CJ ultimately benefitted from his late growth spurt and gained five inches by his second year, including another four inches by his third year of high school.
As a result, his growth was enough to put him on the radar for the college recruitment process. During his first game as a junior, McCollum scored 54 points and set school and Stark County records.
Moreover, in his high school career, CJ worked on improving his shooting stroke. His efforts were successful as he scored an average of 29.3 points per game during his senior season.
By the time of his graduation, McCollum became the leading scorer in the Golden Eagles history, with an impressive 1405 career points, and received Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year during his final campaign of the 2008–2009 season.
McCollum attended Lehigh University and played for the Mountain Hawks. As a freshman in the years 2009–2010, he was listed at 6’3″ and not over 165 pounds.
McCollum was the foremost freshman scorer in the nation and the first athlete in Patriot League history to get the title Rookie of the Year and Conference Player. Additionally, he was an Associated Press distinguished mention All-American.
CJ led the Mountain Hawks to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, where he set up 26 points in the first-round loss to a top-seeded Kansas team.
During CJ’s sophomore year, his averages increased upto 27.8 rebounds and 1.8 points per outing. He played and started in 31 matches and shot at 39.9 percent from the field.
However, his shooting percentages dropped to 39.9 percent from the field. During the year 2010-2011, CJ won the title of First Team All-Conference.
During his junior year in the 2011–12 season, McCollum won Patriot League Player of the Year again and his third straight First Team All-Conference label.
In the 2012 season, the Mountain Hawks beat the Duke Blue Devils, making it the school’s first-ever victory at the NCAA Division I Tournament.
CJ scored a high 30 points in that particular tournament, which was only the sixth time in the tournament’s history where a team seeded at 15th beat a team seeded at 2nd.
Throughout his collegiate years, CJ grew into his body and weight-trained with the same routine, and as a result, he gained 30 pounds of muscle.
Although he was already recognized as a top NBA draft pick by his third year, CJ decided to finish his final college year instead of leaving sooner for the NBA.
On November 25th, 2012, CJ scored 26 points in a win over Sacred Heart and won the Patriot League’s all-time leading scorer.
On January 5th, 2013, McCollum suffered from an injury as he broke his left foot in a game against Virginia Commonwealth University and ended his season early. Moreover, CJ was a 2012–2013 Senior CLASS Award finalist.
On May 20th, 2013, he graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
Portland Trail Blazers
Above all, McCollum became the first player to ever enter the league out of a private school. He was picked tenth overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.
On July 11th, he signed his rookie scale contract with the franchise and advanced to play for them in the NBA Summer League, where his average was four rebounds and 21 points per game.
McCollum remained out the first six weeks of the regular season due to a foot injury. On January 1st, 2014, he was appointed by the Idaho Stampede of the development league.
However, CJ was soon recalled by the Blazers on January 5th and made his NBA debut three days later.
During his debut, he scored 4 points as Blazers beat the Orlando Magic. On February 8th, CJ posted a season-high with 19 points in a 117–110 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On October 27th, 2014, Portland stretched their third-year team option to lengthened CJ’s rookie scale contract through 2015–2016.
He played 15.7 minutes per outing with an average of 1.5 rebounds, one assist, and 6.8 points over 62 games.
In a first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Game- 5, CJ scored a then-career-high of 33 points.
On December 27th, CJ scored 35 points to go along with 11 rebounds and nine assists during a win over the Sacramento Kings.
According to Blazer’s history, none of the players had ever recorded numbers on a level with CJ’s near triple-double in the last 29 years.
Moreover, on February 12th, McCollum was among the invites to All-Star Weekend’s Three-Point Contest. On April 5th, he scored his eighth 30-point game of the season during a win over Sacramento.
McCollum won the NBA’s Most Improved Player honors for his breakout during the 2015–2016 season.
CJ assisted the Portland Trail Blazers claim victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. But sadly, Portland was ousted in the second-round matchup by the Golden State Warriors.
2016- 2017 season
In all of the previous seasons that he played for the Blazers, CJ showed nothing but his exceptional skills.
Therefore, the Portland Trail Blazer extended CJ’s contract for another four years on July 27th, 2016.
On November 20th, McCollum hit a career-high of 6 three-pointers while defeating the Brooklyn Nets. On December 10th, he broke another of his record and set a new career-high of 7 three-pointers.
During the game with the Warriors, CJ scored 41 points, his postseason career-best, making him the eighth Blazer with a playoff performance of 40 points.
Due to a single-game suspension because of leaving the bench area once during a preseason game, CJ missed the 2017-2018 season opener. Moreover, he played in a total of 80 games of the season as a start.
McCollum scored a franchise record of 28 points in the first quarter game while playing against the Bulls.
In 2018-2019, McCollum paved his way to Blazer’s career list for 3-pointers twice.
He passed Damon Stoudamire and moved into the fifth position while playing against the Warriors and made it to the fourth position while playing against Oklahoma City Thunder.
In the same season, McCollum missed ten games due to a left knee injury. During the deciding Game- 7, CJ scored a game-high 37 points, and as a result, the Blazers moved to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.
During the 2019- 2020 season, CJ surpassed his season-high score on February 23rd while playing against the Detroit Pistons with a 41-point, 9-rebound, 12-assist, and matched his season-high again while playing against the Orlando Magic.
CJ McCollum | Salary and Net Worth
McCollum is the second-best player in the Portland Trail Blazers. Reportedly his total earnings from the year 2013-2019 are estimated to be around $60 million.
He is still in contract with the Blazers and has a salary of approximately $27 million.
CJ has a property in Ohio, and its estimated value is around $1.6 million. He possesses some of the world’s finest cars, like Mercedes Benz, GMC, and Ford.
McCollum also has had a four-year endorsement contract with Nike and an additional four-year contract later with Li-Nang.
HENCE, CJ MCCOLLUM’S NET WORTH IS ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND $14 MILLION.
Additionally, In 2020-2021, McCollum will make a base salary of $29,354,152, while fetching a cap hit of $29,354,152 and a dead cap value of $29,354,152.
CJ McCollum | Personal Life
Moreover, CJ tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend, Elise Esposito, in the fall of 2020. Elise is a dentist and a graduate of Columbia University. The couple got engaged in 2018.
When it comes to hairstyles
Not to mention, CJ gets all rebellious and miraculous when it comes to hairstyles and appearance. His obsession is clear-cut, we just don’t need to exaggerate on it.
For his evolution, CJ was once compared to Steve Urkel and since then it’s like he never backed off instead just leveled up.
June 19 is marked as Juneteenth, nationally celebrated to commemorate an end to the slavery in the United States dating back to 1865.
And candidly, CJ even addressed the rumors on the “Pull-Up’ podcast.
Has CJ McCollum been initiated into social work, philanthropy?
CJ owns a center called the CJ McCollum Dream Center, dedicated to providing innovative learning rooms for the Blazers Boys and Girls Club.
They provide new computers, books, and many other learning tools. They aim to deliver inspiring space to learn, grow, and create for the underserved youth.
Does CJ McCollum have any obsession besides basketball?
CJ is a wine enthusiast and has his label called McCollum Heritage 91, named after his birth year and the street where he grew up.
How is McCollum utilizing his degree in Journalism?
McCollum has an initiative called CJ’s Press Pass that helps foster the interest of local youths in journalism through granting access to postgame conferences, attend various events, receive mentorship from plenty of members of the media, and publish their works.