Who is CJ McCollum?

American professional basketball player Christian James ‘CJ’ McCollum was born in Canton, Ohio USA, on 19 September 1991, making Virgo his zodiac sign. He’s currently playing for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA), while he had previously played college football at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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Education and early life

CJ was raised in Canton alongside his older brother Errick ‘E’ Lane McCollum II, by their father Errick McCollum I and mother Kathy Andrews; not many details have been shared about CJ’s parents, because they prefer to left out of media, while it’s known that his brother’s today also a professional basketball player, and is playing for Pınar Karşıyaka of Basketbol Süper Ligi (Turkey).

CJ became passionate about basketball while attending GlenOak High School, even though he was only 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall as a freshman; he was still allowed to play for the varsity team Golden Eagles thanks to his athleticism. He gained 5ins by the time he started his second year, and another 4ins by the third year; at his first game during his third year, CJ scored 54 points and thus broke the school record.

During his senior season, he averaged 29.3 points per game, and by the time he matriculated in 2009, CJ had amassed 1,405 points as a high school player; he was named 2009 Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year.

College basketball

Although CJ was offered scholarships to several universities, he chose to attend the private research school Lehigh University.

He joined their Mountain Hawks as soon as he enrolled at the university in 2009; CJ started 31 of their 33 games, averaging 19 points and five rebounds per game. He was the best freshman scorer in the USA, and was named both a Rookie of the Year and Conference Player of the Year; the Hawks reached the 2010 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, but lost in the first round to the Kansas Jayhawks.

During his second year, CJ averaged 21.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game; he was named First Team-All Conference, but lost Player of the Year honors to Mike Muscala.

He was named Patriot League Player of the Year as a junior, and although most people believed that CJ would forgo his senior year to make himself eligible for the NFL Draft, he instead chose to stay at Lehigh; he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 2013.

NBA career

CJ became the first student from Lehigh to be picked in the NBA Draft; he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on 11 July 2013, and initially played for their NBA Summer League team.

The NBA rookies voted CJ the ‘2013-2014 Rookie of the Year’, however, he had to skip the first month and a half of the season due to his foot injury. He began playing for the Idaho Stampede of the development league on 1 January 2014, but was then recalled by the Trail Blazers and made his NBA debut on 8 January, when the Blazers defeated the Orlando Magic 110-94. CJ then scored 19 points in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on 8 February, and 33 points against the Memphis Grizzlies in October 2014.

CJ became a starting shooting guard for the 2015-2016 season, and started all 80 games, scoring a career-high 37 points on 28 October 2015, when the Blazers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans. CJ was named NBA Most Improved Player for the season.

He signed a new four-year contract with the Trail Blazers on 27 July 2016; they finished the 2016-2017 season with 41 wins and 41 losses, and were then beaten by the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. The Blazers reached the playoffs again in the following season, but lost to the New Orleans Pelicans.

CJ and the Blazers finally reached the Western Conference Finals in 2019, the first time for the Blazers since 2000, but lost to the Golden State Warriors.

He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on 8 February 2022, and made his debut with them only two days later, when the Pelicans lost to the Miami Heat 112-97. He signed a new two-year $64 million contract with the Pelicans on 24 September 2022, and one of his most notable performances was when he recorded nine assists, eight rebounds and 40 points in a game against the San Antonio Spurs on 22 December.

Love life and wife

CJ’s respectful of his and his wife’s privacy, and only a couple of details about his love life have been disclosed. He met American non-celebrity Elise Esposito while they were both attending Lehigh University; it’s believed that Elise was a cheerleader there, but this hasn’t been confirmed. The two married in a large ceremony on 27 October 2020, attended by many of their family members and friends, and Elise gave birth to their son Jacobi on 10 January 2022.

CJ’s yet to mention the girls whom he had dated prior to meeting Elise; he’s married to Elise Esposito as of June 2023, and they have a son together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

CJ’s today co-hosting the weekly podcast “Pull Up with CJ McCollum” together with ESPN analyst Jordan Schultz; he signed a contract with ESPN as their NBA analyst on 30 May 2022.

He’s passionate about journalism and has written articles on NBA for a number of media outlets.

CJ’s a philanthropist, and opened the CJ McCollum Dream Center at the Trail Blazers Boys & Girls Club in 2016; it’s a place for underprivileged youth to ‘grow, create, explore and learn’.

He loves wine and has his own label McCollum Heritage 91.

CJ’s quite popular on Instagram, as over 1.3 million people are following him today; he’s posted more than 1,500 pictures, with most of these showing him during his everyday life.

One of CJ’s favorite actors is Will Smith, regardless of what has recently happened at the Oscars; some of his favorite movies include “Independence Day”, “I Am Legend” and “I, Robot”.

Height, eyes and wealth

CJ’s age is 31. He has brown eyes and black hair, is 6ft 3ins (1.91m) tall and weighs around 190lbs (86kgs).

CJ’s net worth’s been estimated at over $14 million, as of June 2023.

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