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Kyrie Irving Steps Back Into The Sneaker Game And Critics Are Bashing His New Deal With Sportswear Brand ‘ANTA’

Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving has stepped back into the sneaker game.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the point guard recently signed a five-year deal with Chinese sportswear brand ANTA. Along with the endorsement, Irving will serve as chief creative officer at the company, an agreement negotiated by the athlete’s management company, A11Even.

“I’m incredibly excited about this collaboration,” Irving said, according to Boardroom. “The first step in becoming partners is to share 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 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.”

The partnership will consist of signature product releases and ANTA x KYRIE Youth Basketball Camps around the world that will kick off in China and the U.S. Reportedly, Irving will flaunt the Shock Wave 5 sneaker at the top of the upcoming NBA season and release his first signature collection in 2024.

“In addition to an array of signature collections designed to enhance performance and inspire athletes of all levels, our groundbreaking and revolutionizing partnership will also encompass a range of collaborative initiatives to support everyone devoted to the game of basketball and promote an inclusive basketball culture,” ANTA said in a statement.

NBA players Klay Thompson and Gordon Hayward are other endorsers of ANTA Sports.

BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported that Irving parted ways as a Nike athlete last year after the company suspended its relationship following Irving’s Tweet of a link to the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America!. He became a sneaker-free agent after Nike terminated his contract.

According to Fan Nation, the endorsement deal follows Irving’s new, three-year $126 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.