NBA star Kyrie Irving has signed a shoe deal with Chinese sportswear company ANTA seven months after his deal with Nike was cancelled.
The shoe deal: The Dallas Mavericks point guard’s contract with ANTA is reportedly for five years.
In addition to releasing a signature shoe, Irving has joined the sportswear company as its chief creative officer, a position that will see him attempting to recruit “basketball players, independent brands, influential figures in pop culture, artists, musicians, pioneers in environmentalism, trailblazers in humanitarianism and designers to also collaborate with him to create additional product lines under Kyrie’s signature line,” according to a statement
by ANTA announcing the deal.
“It’s an honor to welcome them into my A11Even TRIBE as they have welcomed me into the Anta FAMILY,” Irving wrote in a Twitter post. “As Chief Creative Officer, I will push our teams domestically and internationally to unite like minded Trailblazers who have the vision to create and build their craft to transcend the footwear/Apparel industry for generations to come.”
Irving will reportedly wear ANTA’s Shock Wave 5 sneaker until the release of his signature shoe, which is projected for the first quarter of 2024. How much he will be paid for the deal has not been disclosed.
The eight-time NBA All-Star had previously been signed with Nike in an $11 million annual deal from 2014 until December 2022, when the company cut ties with the mercurial Irving after he promoted an anti-Semitic film on Twitter and initially refused to apologize. Irving’s previous controversies also include his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19
and suggesting that the Earth is flat.
Irving’s dealings with ANTA have also reignited discussions regarding the NBA’s own sensitive relationship with China, having previously been mocked
for avoiding any criticism of the country in fear of alienating one of the league’s largest audiences