Klay Thompson is now a top 10 earning sneaker endorser among all NBA players.
Thompson has singed a massive 10-year, $80 million extension with Chinese shoe brand Anta, according to a report by Nick DePaula of Nice Kicks.
Klay signed with Anta three seasons ago, which at the time was a relatively unknown company, especially when it came to big time shoe endorsements.
“I didn’t know much about Anta,” Thompson told Nice Kicks. “One of my agent’s client’s, Rajon [Rondo] was with them, and he said this brand had incredible potential and that the Chinese market, as well, was something that I could really dive into.”
Thompson is currently involved in a 10-day tour in China, his fourth visit to the country. Klay explained to Nice Kicks why he initially gravitated toward such an obscure foreign company, instead of pursuing a more traditional deal in the United States.
“I knew with the other brands in the States, whether it was Nike or adidas, it was going to be tough for me to get a signature shoe,” Klay said. “I knew with Anta, I would have so much input creatively. I was going to hopefully be the Michael Jordan one day of Anta. That really resonated with me, and knowing that I could be really big in China, that was really cool to me. The shoe market sometimes is overflooded in the States, and I thought, ‘Well, why not branch out and be global.’”
His original agreement with the company in 2014 paid Thompson just $2 million annually. Since then Klay has made three All-Star teams, won two NBA Finals, and established himself as maybe the best all-around shooting guard in the NBA.
Klay’s success with Anta has made him one of the top-selling endorsers in China, placing over 500,000 pairs of Thompson’s first signature shoe, the KT1, in the marketplace, and has continually looked to ramp business since. They plan on releasing the KT3 later this fall, along with an assortment of KT-branded basketball gear, casual apparel and lifestyle sneakers.