by Lang Whitaker

If you’ve seen the latest edition of MTV Cribs featuring Damon “Basketball” Jones, you’ve seen the portion where he proudly walks the cameraman over to his shelves and shows them his Li Ning signature shoe and gleefully announces that he’s the only NBA player to have a shoe deal in China.

In what’s pretty much the story of Damon’s career, his exclusive deal was undermined yesterday when Shaquille O’Neal announced that he’d also signed a deal with Li Ning to produce and distribute his Dunkman line of shoes in Asia. They’re also doing an apparel line with the awkward name “Instensify O’Neal.”

The deal is expected to help Li Ning increase their share of the marketplace in China, as they’d fallen behind Nike and adidas in recent years.

I’m still not sure why they signed Damon Jones in the first place.