February 27, 2024

Maxsports

All Sports To The Max

Kyrie Irving signs with Chinese shoe brand ANTA after Nike dumped him over anti-Semitism scandal

Kyrie Irving has signed a lucrative five-year deal with little-known Chinese brand ANTA and will stunningly also be the company’s Chief Creative Officer, just seven months after being dumped by Nike in the wake of his anti-Semitic remarks. 

The partnership was announced on Tuesday by Shams Charania, of The Athletic, as ANTA looks to expand its presence and popularity in the US. The sportswear brand already has endorsements with other NBA stars, such as Klay Thompson and Gordon Hayward. 

Irving, 31, had been previously sponsored by Nike, producing his own signature line, which the player, himself, claims generated $2.6billion in revenue over the past seven years in a tweet from earlier this month. 

‘I can safely say, I am one of them ones out here in the competitive shoe market, dominating,’ tweeted the Dallas Mavericks point guard, who re-signed with Mark Cuban’s team for $126million over the next three years just last week. 

‘And not to be arrogant, Go Ask around, the kids that grew up wearing/buying my shoes know, respectfully that I am that guy because of the Support WORLDWIDE.’

Kyrie Irving now has a sponsorship deal with Chinese shoe wear ANTA over the next five years

Kyrie Irving now has a sponsorship deal with Chinese shoe wear ANTA over the next five years

After being dropped by Nike last year, Irving covered his shoes with tape or personal beliefs

After being dropped by Nike last year, Irving covered his shoes with tape or personal beliefs

Irving, 31, signed with ANTA just days after agreeing to a three-year, $126M with the Mavericks

Irving, 31, signed with ANTA just days after agreeing to a three-year, $126M with the Mavericks

Earlier this month, Irving claimed that his old shoe line with Nike generated $2.6B in revenue

Earlier this month, Irving claimed that his old shoe line with Nike generated $2.6B in revenue

Nike suspended its deal with Irving in November before indefinitely parting ways with the eight-time All-Star in December after he promoted an anti-Semitic film on his social media accounts and was unwilling to show remorse over his actions when given several chances to apologize for the scandal. 

Nike scrapped off its release of the Kyrie 8 shoes as well, which were supposed to be put on sale starting in November. 

‘At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,’ the company said in a statement last year. ‘We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.’

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Irving also served an eight-game suspension handed to him by the Brooklyn Nets. 

He was then traded away to the Dallas Mavericks prior to the NBA Trade Deadline in February. 

The 2016 NBA champion, who’s been unable to shake off the ‘LeBron sidekick’ tag given to him by fans due to his inability to win a championship by himself, said that he’s ‘incredibly excited’ about his collaboration with ANTA on Tuesday. 

‘The first step in becoming partners is to share the same dreams, goals, and missions,’ said Irving. ‘ANTA’s rapid development over the years, openness to creativity, willingness to embrace family and teamwork, expertise in areas like product innovation and manufacturing processes have left a remarkable impression on not just me, but also my A11Even team who will work side by side with me in creating something truly generationally special.’ 

Irving remained unapologetic after promoting an anti-Semitic film on social media last season

Irving remained unapologetic after promoting an anti-Semitic film on social media last season

Irving - an eight-time All-Star - said he's 'incredibly excited' about his collaboration with ANTA

Irving – an eight-time All-Star – said he’s ‘incredibly excited’ about his collaboration with ANTA

The eight-time All-Star will debut the upcoming NBA season in ANTA's Shock Wave 5 sneakers

The eight-time All-Star will debut the upcoming NBA season in ANTA’s Shock Wave 5 sneakers

Irving also covered his sneakers during games with political messages after Nike dropped him

Irving also covered his sneakers during games with political messages after Nike dropped him

Over the course of the second-half of last season, after being dropped by Nike, Irving often wore previous shoe models that he collaborated on, such as the Kyrie 3s and Kyrie 4s, with the company during games and would cover them with either tape or messages sharing his personal beliefs. 

Irving is now set to start the upcoming NBA season in ANTA’s Shock Wave 5 sneakers, with his first signature collection scheduled to be released sometime during the first months of 2024, according to Boardroom

The first overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, who’s the fourth most followed basketball player on Instagram with 19.2M followers, is following in the footsteps of former pros Kevin Garnett, Luis Scola, Rajon Rondo, and Chandler Parsons in signing with ANTA. 

During his time with Nike, Irving released 22 signature shoes in total since his rookie year, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James. 

‘Being appointed as ANTA Basketball’s Chief Creative Officer is more than just a realization of my dreams; in fact, it may be the perfect opportunity for me, an individual who always dreams big and values independent thinking, to leverage my artistic talents to build, create, and unify the culture both on and off court,’ he said. 

ANTA has opened more than 9,000 physical retail stores in Asia and with Irving now on its books, the brand is at the forefront of increasing the sportswear market in the US. 

‘It is our genuine love for basketball that brought Kyrie and ANTA together, a love that transcends age, gender, race and backgrounds,’ said Mr. Xu Yang, CEO of ANTA, in a statement. ‘We believe this collaboration will create a fusion of Chinese and Western cultures and bring more vitality and creativity for us to continuously push the boundaries and explore the infinite possibilities at the intersection of basketball and culture.’

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