Freeman Cebu Sports

The Anta Kai 1

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

In December 2022, after 7 signature shoe and apparel line, Nike ended their 8-year marriage with Kyrie Irving for posting a link to an anti-Jewish film.  A profitable $11 million sponsorship deal came to an end.

Nike co-founder Phil Knight said that Kyrie “made some statements that we can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship.”

Six months later, Chinese sports company Anta jumped on the sneaker free agent and signed him to a partnership deal, serving as the company’s chief creative officer of basketball where he will “strive to collectively shape and introduce” new ideas in signature sportswear category.  The endorsement deal is worth $126 million for five years.  It allows Kyrie to sign and recruit players and other collaborators.

With Kyrie in their stable, Anta now has another NBA champion paired with Klay Thompson, who had been with the company for nine years.  Anta’s debut in the NBA was in 2007 when they signed Luis Scola, thereby attracting new endorsers.  The company gained traction when they were one of the major sponsors during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kevin Garnett became the second Anta spokesman in 2010.  Gordon Hayward and Rajon Rondo followed and of late, Alex Caruso, Kevon Looney, Precious Achiuwa and Donte DiVincenzo sport the brand.

Locally, Anta got the signature of 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in 2016 after Nike also dropped him after his comments about same-sex marriage.  Last year, the company signed a 2-year deal with the Pacman-founded Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League as their official outfitter.

With the three stripes and the swoosh influencing the local collegiate basketball scene, Anta has slowly penetrated the market.  They had outfitted Adamson University, San Beda University, College of St. Benilde, Lyceum of the Philippines University and University of Sto. Tomas.    Local high school powerhouse SHS-Ateneo de Cebu is also supported by Anta.

Back to the Kai 1.  The company heavily promoted the shoe’s release with the standard retail price of about p8,000.  I would assume that it is a limited issue as the secondary market is selling it somewhere between p15,000 to as high as p25,000.  Collectors of Kyrie’s former signature line probably stocked up on the new shoes, making it go up in value, creating a glut in supply, collectors calling this artificial want a “chase”.  And yes, the chase begins for those who have the money to spend.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with