Despite having a slow start to life in the National Basketball Association, CJ McCollum has proven he is not in over his head. The Portland Trail Blazers’ shooting guard earned himself the 2016 NBA Most Improved Player award on the back of 20+ points per game.
The former Lehigh University athlete, who was twice named the Patriot League Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, also has a keen interest in Journalism which he has a degree in. He has done some work for a number of NBA websites and has also notably interviewed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, among many others.
CJ McCollum Biography
CJ McCollum, whose full name is Christian James McCollum, was born on the 19th of September, 1991, in Canton, Ohio. While growing up, McCollum was not sure he was ever going to play basketball professionally or even in college due to his small size. However, after undergoing a late growth spurt that saw him gain about 9 inches of height in high school, he became a target for a number of colleges.
McCollum attended GlenOak High School where he averaged 29.3 points per game in his senior year to become the leading scorer in his school’s history. He went on to be named the Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year that season, after which he accepted a scholarship to attend Lehigh University. McCollum averaged 19.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his freshman season and named Conference Player of the Year, the first freshman to win the award. He was also an AP honorable mention All-American. In his sophomore year, he averaged 21.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game to earn a second first team All-Conference selection. He was named Player of the year again as a junior after he managed 21.9 points and 6.5 rebounds.
Despite rumors that he might be forgoing his senior year since he was considered a top NBA draft prospect, CJ McCollum returned to Lehigh for his final college season where he got to become the conference’s all-time leading scorer before suffering a foot injury that ended his season prematurely. McCollum went on to complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism before he was selected by the Portland Trailblazers with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Wife or Girlfriend, Is He Married or Dating?
CJ McCollum has never been married, he does not have a wife. However, he has a girlfriend who he has been dating ever since he was a college student at Lehigh University. McCollum’s longtime girlfriend is Elise Esposito, a Behavioral Neuroscience graduate of Lehigh University; she works as a dental assistant.
Ms. Esposito is said to be from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She attended high school at Bethlehem Catholic High School and after acquiring her undergraduate degree, the Lehigh alum went back to school to get a Healthcare Systems Engineering degree in 2014.
It is not clear if wedding bells will be ringing anytime soon for the happy couple. But regardless of what the future holds, McCollum and Esposito currently seem inseparable as she is almost always spotted in the stands at every game, supporting her man. She is also an avid social media user where she has posted dozens of pictures of them on vacation or just spending time together.
CJ McCollum’s Brother
CJ McCollum has an older brother that also plays basketball at a professional level. Errick McCollum, who was born on the 22nd of January, 1988, in Canton, Ohio, played college basketball at Goshen College where he graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer, achieving National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics DII All-American selections in his four years there.
Upon graduation and going undrafted in 2010, McCollum took his talents overseas, first playing in Isreal before having stints in Greece, China, and Turkey. His trophy cabinet so far includes the 2016 EuroCup Championship, 2016 EuroCup MVP title, and the 2018 Turkish basketball Cup. He has further led the Chinese Basketball Association in scoring (2015 and 2017) and has also been named a CBA All-Star in 2015.
Height and Weight
CJ McCollum’s height is listed at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) which places him about 1 inch shorter than the average height of an NBA shooting guard. His weight is further listed at 190 pounds (86 kg).