By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor
On Thursday night, Kyrie Irving became a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Friday morning, he became a member of the Panini America team.
The No. 1 overall draft pick out of Duke signed an exclusive contract Friday to sign autographs for the NBA’s only official trading card licensee as well as sign memorabilia for the Panini Authentic line and appear on packaging and promotion for the company’s products. He joins Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, John Wall and Derrick Williams — the No. 2 pick in the draft — as exclusive spokesmen for the company.
“It’s a great feeling. I am proud and excited to join the Panini team,” said Irving, who averaged 17.5 points a game during his injury-shortened season with the Blue Devils. “This is another great class that I’ve been drafted into … I’m honored to be added to that roster.”
He’ll make his NBA card debut in 2011-12 Prestige.
“In just 11 games at Duke, Kyrie displayed the kind of uncanny playmaking and leadership abilities that basketball collectors and NBA fans covet,” said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. “Certainly he caught our attention inside Panini America headquarters. We’re tremendously excited to add him to our unparalleled roster of NBA talent. He’ll fit in nicely here.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.