Wednesday, November 30, 2022
HomeSportsCentennial hoop star Jared McCain constructing a possible fortune

Centennial hoop star Jared McCain constructing a possible fortune

Voices of a era name out, shouting his title, a swell lifting the golden boy at each step.

“Jared!” they yell, jostling for an autograph or picture. “Jared!”

Even when 250 miles from his residence, followers from a legion of 1.7 million TikTok followers flock to Corona Centennial High guard Jared McCain. They hold on each crossover transfer, each three-point heave, falling over themselves within the stands at a preseason recreation in Las Vegas because the Duke commit dominates on the courtroom.

As McCain makes his manner from the locker room, attempting to go away Bishop Gorman High’s fitness center, followers swarm him and his household. He smiles at them, his girlfriend gripping his again as in the event that they’re squirming via a pulsating music-festival crowd.

“You really don’t get used to it,” McCain stated, beaming. “Everywhere you go, I’m thinking, ‘Walk in the gym, nobody’s really going to say anything.’”

That smile is his signature, an eyes-crinkling ear-to-ear grin. It’s launched an empire, a large social following leveraged into groundbreaking title, picture and likeness offers with Champs Sports, Lemon Perfect and Crocs.

Centennial High guard Jared McCain swoops to the basket throughout a scrimmage with teammates Thursday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

There was no plan for this. There was no play to fame. This was sudden and surprising, fully shifting the lifetime of a child who simply needed to play basketball.

He’s all the time been unapologetically himself, McCain stated, as he’s grow to be the face of a brand new era of basketball stars.

“It’s actually crazy,” Centennial teammate Mike Price stated, laughing whereas watching McCain grin and take photos with followers. “I never thought someone could get this big.”

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McCain is a hooper first. Influencer second.

He was chosen the Gatorade state boys’ basketball participant of the 12 months final season, averaging 16.9 factors a recreation in serving to lead Centennial to a second consecutive Open Division state title. He has lightning-quick ballhandling expertise, defends effectively and makes three-pointers from Stephen Curry vary. So it will get underneath McCain’s pores and skin when individuals simply name him a TikTok sensation.

“When I get to Duke, I know there’s going to be comments — if we lose a game, like, ‘Get off TikTok,’” McCain stated.

He was additionally born to be an entertainer. He danced, belted out Justin Bieber songs, carried out with out abandon in entrance of youth teammates. People known as him Corbin Bleu when he was youthful, McCain stated, due to his uncanny resemblance — in persona and physicality — to the “High School Musical” character.

McCain has grown into one of many high recruits within the nation, TikTok giving followers an unfiltered, typically hilarious look into his life. He posts movies performing dance developments along with his teammates, girlfriend or mother — some racking up greater than 15 million views. Last week, he posted a TikTok staring immediately into the digicam at a Home Depot car parking zone as he belted the lyrics to Giveon’s “Garden Kisses.”

Centennial High guard Jared McCain dribbles the ball up court.

Centennial High guard Jared McCain led the Huskies to their second consecutive Open Division state basketball title final season as a junior level guard.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“This is just him,” McCain’s mom, Jina, stated of her son’s fame. “This is not, like, being fake. This is not trying to be somebody you’re not. This is him.”

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In nearly each video, he breaks out the million-dollar smile — which is real, in keeping with his household.

“Ur so happy all the time makes me smile,” learn one remark, with hundreds of likes, on a November 2021 TikTok.

And a million-dollar model was born.

As the title, picture and likeness period dawned for highschool athletes in summer season 2021, he had an excellent platform, a 17-year-old with tons of of hundreds of followers and a radiant persona.

“There’s the people with the big following, and then there’s the people that influence people,” stated Taylor Smith, vp of selling at Lemon Perfect, a beverage producer. “And Jared’s charisma allows him to be the latter.”

McCain has the fourth-highest NIL valuation amongst highschool basketball gamers within the nation, in keeping with On3. He’s constructed a extremely intentional profile, Lemon Perfect and footwear firm Crocs becoming neatly into his vivid, completely satisfied picture.

“I just want to be an inspiration for the business side of things,” McCain stated.

Yet strain comes with that platform — an inherent want to take care of it. McCain has grow to be overly cautious along with his public actions. He by no means needs to be the athlete, his girlfriend, Sydney Williams, stated, who’s caught on digicam ignoring a fan.

In September, McCain visited Duke, speaking with fellow commits within the dorms. He was holding a transparent cup of water, he advised his mother afterward, and began to get nervous.

What if anyone took an image? What in the event that they thought it was vodka?


McCain first felt the craze final winter, when he and Williams have been mobbed by youngsters on the Classic at Damien High event in La Verne.

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As he took the courtroom at Damien, McCain heard feedback from the stands — “disrespectful, rude and flat-out mean” issues about his household and girlfriend, he stated.

The gyms stayed packed, and the Centennial guard all of a sudden felt like he was underneath a microscope. Comments turned unfavourable at occasions, calling him trash, goading that he’d get uncovered at Duke. The enterprise provides saved coming, although, discussions of a brand new deal interrupted most each prolonged second along with his girlfriend and household.

And the younger man who turned a star merely being himself began feeling like he was residing to please everybody else.

“You overthink,” McCain stated. “And then overthinking just leads to — you don’t play well.”

He had his greatest season as a junior, but he scored solely 10 factors in an Open Division regional victory over Chatsworth Sierra Canyon earlier than taking solely seven pictures in a state-championship victory over Modesto Christian.

Centennial High guard Jared McCain poses for a photo at practice.

Centennial High guard Jared McCain follows the recommendation of Golden State celebrity Stephen Curry: “Trust my work.”

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

During the summer season, at Curry’s camp in San Francisco, McCain requested the Golden State Warriors celebrity how he handled strain. McCain wrote down Curry’s reply, and it turned his motto.

“Trust my work,” McCain stated Curry advised him. “The pressure is always going to be there. You just have to minimize it as much as you can by trusting your work.”

So his thoughts’s clearer now when crowds thicken, heading right into a senior season vying for a 3rd consecutive state championship. He’ll give attention to the primary factor and be himself. He’ll flip the swap when he steps into the fitness center, drain threes and discuss smack to his defender.

“Obviously, Jared cusses, and I’ve told people that, and they’re so surprised,” Williams stated. “Jared doesn’t seem capable of cussing.”

And the day after dropping 30 factors, he would possibly simply drop a video dancing in his pajama pants.



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