Kyrie Irving is reportedly being targeted by Chinese shoe company Li-Ning.
In December last year, sneaker giant Nike dropped their deal with Irving due to his promotion of an anti-Semitic film on social media and the subsequent fallout that occurred.
Irving himself hinted at his plans to sign with a new brand when he was asked if he will visit China during a media call this week.
“I’ll set my plans once I sign with a potential shoe brand,” Irving said. “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.”
Since Irving said “China trip specifically” it has led people to assume that it could be Li-Ning he has his sights set on.
In 2006, Li-Ning entered the NBA and signed Shaquille O’Neal, a star in Miami at the time, to a four-year contract worth $1.25 million.
Shaq won his first championship with the Heat that same year, which certainly helped popularize the Chinese company in the US.
O’Neal’s former teammate Dwyane Wade is also affiliated with the footwear brand after signing a ten-year contract with them in 2012 and has had several signature sneakers released since then.
The contract was worth around $60 million dollars, plus he received equity in the business.
In 2012 Dwayne Wade and Li-Ning joined forces, Way of Wade was born.
Way of Wade shoes are made for intesive court action while upping the game in the looks department as well.
— OQIUM (@OQIUM_official) January 23, 2023
Other current NBA players that have contracts with Li-Ning include Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, RJ Hampton, D’Angelo Russell, and Fred VanVleet.