Nike always has its first choice in which colleges and athletes they choose to sponsor.
Nike has names like Lebron, Kobe, and Durant who are the faces of the NBA. Yet slowly stars that are fading and others who are emerging like KG, Kidd, Shaq, Kevin Love, and Carl Landry have found sponsors of their own. These sponsors are just from the other side of the world.
The NBA has taken China by storm and with that comes the gigantic market and growing economy. Not only one but four Chinese companies have gone globally and have shown signs to having a large impact on sports apparel in the future.
Li Ning made statement with sponsoring Shaq in the past and now currently sponsoring both Baron Davis and Evan Turner.
Although Evan Turner has not had great success in his rookie season there is still a lot of potential and low risk investment for Li Ning. I believe Chinese companies are realizing that many different players can be marketable and by finding young players that might not have the large companies like Nike or Adidas approaching them.