According to a report from Counter Kicks, Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is set to leave adidas Basketball and sign with Chinese sportswear distributor ANTA.
Garnett is said to be locked into an existing endorsement deal with adidas for a few months longer, but has an opt out clause this summer. Though still under contract, it is believed that Garnett has already entered an agreement with ANTA and is prepared to leave the German-based company.
ANTA is a privately owned Chinese sportswear company. They design, develop, manufacture, and market sportswear, including footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company was established in 1994 and is headquartered in Jinjiang, Fujian. Along with Li-Ning and PEAK, ANTA looks to continue the trend of Chinese sportswear companies making a run at the U.S. market.
This wouldn't be the first brand switch for Garnett, who signed with Nike as a rookie out of high school. After a 5 year stay with the Swoosh, Garnett bolted for Pennsylvania upstart AND1 in 2001. His stay with AND1 was marred with controversy, causing the two sides to mutually part after only two years. In 2003, KG signed a "lifetime" deal with adidas that was reported to be worth approximately $2 million per year.
Former adidas Basketball Public Relations manager Travis Gonzolez said of the deal, "We're actually looking for Kevin to wear our shoes not only during his playing career but driving our basketball business long after his career on the court." Obviously, those plans would change if this news is indeed true.
Sole Collector reached out to adidas, who simply said, "We do not comment on rumors and speculation involving athlete contracts."
What do you think about KG possibly leaving adidas? Is it smart for an older player with knee issues to experiment with brands?