Kyrie Irving is back in the shoe game after splitting up with Nike.
The former Nets star and current Dallas Mavericks guard signed a five-year endorsement deal with Chinese sportswear brand ANTA, the company said in a statement.
The deal also makes Irving the company’s creative director.
The statement said the agreement would allow him to recruit and sign other players and collaborators and bring manufacturing to the United States.
“I am very excited about this collaboration,” Irving said in a statement. “The first step is to become partners in sharing the same dreams, goals and missions. ANTA’s rapid development over the years, openness to creativity, willingness to embrace family and teamwork, and expertise in areas such as product innovation and manufacturing processes made a great impression not only on me, but also on the A11Even team who will work side by side with me in creating Something really special between generations.”
The agreement will facilitate the launch of ANTA x KYRIE youth basketball camps around the world, with China and the United States expected to be the first two countries to launch these events.
Irving’s first signature shoe with ANTA is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2024.
Irving, 31, had been with Nike since his rookie season in 2011, but the company split with the star after he tweeted a link to a movie laced with anti-Semitic slurs.
Irving was handed the equivalent of an eight-game suspension by the Nets in November, and Nike first suspended their relationship with him before officially dropping him a month later.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism. To that end, we have made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8,” Nike said in November.
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Anta said the partnership with Irving will go beyond just a shoe, and initiatives will be launched to “support every person who dedicates themselves to the game of basketball.”
“Through these collaborations and in collaboration with ANTA, Kerry will strive to shape and deliver new vision, innovation and creativity in the premium sportswear category,” the company’s statement read.
According to Kix Stats, more than a dozen NBA players wear ANTA shoes, including the Warriors’ Klay Thompson.
Irving agreed to a three-year deal with the Mavericks for $126 million at the start of NBA free agency.
He averaged 27 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 20 games for the Mavs after the trade from Brooklyn.