As a child, Jaden Ivey watched YouTube highlights of Michael Jordan, his favorite basketball player, before every one of his games.
The Hall of Fame guard and former rival of the Pistons starred in several Gatorade commercials during his prime in the 1990s.
Now, the explosive young guard is closer to following in his idol’s footsteps.
Gatorade has signed Ivey to an endorsement deal ahead of his rookie season with the Pistons, the company announced Wednesday morning.
“It’s surreal to be signing with a brand as iconic as Gatorade because I’ve looked up to Michael Jordan my whole life,” Ivey said in a statement. “Joining the Gatorade family is a huge honor and I’m excited to continue to build on the legacy of Gatorade athletes past and present as I start my NBA career.”
Ivey will make his NBA debut in the Pistons’ season opener against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. The opener features a matchup between Ivey, the fifth-overall pick in this year’s draft, and No. 1 overall selection Paolo Banchero.
Ivey joins a host of NBA superstars also signed to Gatorade, including Paul George, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zion Williamson.
Earlier this year, Ivey attended Gatorade’s annual “Athlete of the Year” awards show, which honors the best high school athletes across the country.
“Gatorade has always prioritized identifying the next generation of athlete talent,” said Jeff Kearney, Gatorade’s global head of sports marketing.
The former Purdue guard has deep family roots in Detroit, including his grandfather and former Lions defensive back James Hunter, his father and former Detroit Country Day athlete Javin Hunter.
His mother Niele Ivey, head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, played for the Detroit Shock for one season in 2005.
“Jaden comes from a deep sports background in his family, and it’s clear he wants to make his own mark on and off the court, so we see a very bright future ahead for the newest member of the Gatorade family,” Kearney added.