NBA star Kyrie Irving hinted at a deal with Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning, months after losing contracts with billion-dollar shoe brand Nike due to a massive controversy.
Founded in 1989, Li-Ning entered the Basketball league in 2006 and signed the Hall of Famer and former Miami Heat legend Shaquille O’Neal to a four-year, $1.25 million deal. Another Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade also signed a lifetime deal with the Chinese company in 2018.
Apart from former players, Li-Ning is currently endorsed by elite NBA players like Jimmy Butler, Fred VanVleet, and CJ McCollum.
Kyrie Irving is signing a contract with Chinese footwear brand Li-Ning
According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, the Chinese brand Li-Ning is interested in being a three-time member of the All-NBA Team Irving. The Mavericks’ star guard also dropped some hints at his plans to sign the contract before a trip to China in the off-season.
“I’ll set my plans once I sign with a potential shoe brand. That’s usually how it goes in my scheduling from June to August — usually planning an Asia trip or China trip specifically. Once I sign with a shoe brand, I’ll start wrapping around in kind of this international world tour to introduce myself as a new brand signee or signature athlete”, he stated.
Mavericks superstar Kyrie Irving hinted at his plans to sign with a new signature shoe brand when asked if he plans to visit China in the near future.
"I'll set my plans once I sign with a potential shoe brand. That's usually how it goes in my scheduling from June to August —… pic.twitter.com/ixiUdM0oZV
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) April 3, 2023
The eight-time All-Star stirred ugly criticism in October 2022, as he shared the link to a controversial antisemitic movie on his Twitter account. Kyrie’s Twitter handle was bombarded with fans’ outrage, albeit he refused to apologize for his action, leading him to get suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for a minimum of five games.
To make it worse, the veteran guard lost his yearly $11 million deal with the popular shoe brand Nike following the controversy.
Despite being a controversial figure, the 31-year-old is still shining on the court as he has been averaging 26.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.2 SPG with the Mavs, albeit the team is in danger of missing the postseason with 9-16 and Kyrie is probably going to test free agency per Bleacher Report.
“Despite the Dallas Mavericks’ struggles since acquiring Kyrie Irving, the plan is still to re-sign the star guard, league sources told Bleacher Report. Irving is eligible for an extension, but he will instead allow his future to be decided in free agency this summer, sources said.”
No matter what Irving’s next move is, it’s clear that he is a player who is not afraid to take risks and make bold moves. Fans will have to stay tuned to see where he takes his career next.