We get why NBA athletes sign with Chinese sneaker brands. They overpay and sometimes that chunk of change is too hard to pass up. But these athletes that take their namesake to the Far East are typically over-the-hill has-beens who don’t really have a place in the U.S. market anymore – guys like Kevin Garnett, Shaq, and so on that are looking to make a quick buck before they hang it up for good. But Klay? He’s a young superstar on the rise that just came off winning an NBA title, and his stock has never been higher after he helped the Warriors to an epic season. Nike probably regrets letting him walk away to another brand away a la Steph Curry, but truthfully speaking, Klay isn’t on that signature shoe level. At the same time he’s a face you want on your side of the brand, because he represents part of the new generation of stars that will take over the league.
Speaking of faces, Klay Thompson looks like he’s holding back tears as his ANTA signature shoe gets revealed. His greatest regret of his life thus far is playing out before his eyes in the form of a shoe that and brand that nobody in his home country gives two damns about. It’s a direct rip-off of the Curry One/Hyperdunk aesthetic and even has that foot-form outsole from the UA Speedform running shoe. Nobody in the U.S. would be caught dead in a pair of ANTA Klays and that’ll hurt his marketability in a big way because sneakers are a necessary channel for an athlete to truly build up that “brand”. Way to bury yourself, Klay.