The Chinese sportswear brand Anta Sports is banking on boosting its presence in the west through its partnership with basketball star Kyrie Irving. It signed up the player in July as its creative director for basketball following Nike's decision to drop him last last year, and it's organised a big launch for Irving's new logo.
The design will presumably appear on Anta's upcoming Kyrie Irving shoes and other products. But while the company claims a lofty meaning for the aggressive looking design, but fans are divided. It certainly isn't one of the best new logos.
Irving is no stranger to footwear partnerships, having been tied to Nike for a decade. The US sportswear giant let him go due to his promotion of conspiracy theories. Now he's found a new commercial deal with Anta, that requires a new logo since Nike owns the trademark to the previous design.
Anta is calling its Kyrie Irving logo the 'Enlightened Warrior'. The design features a mirrored 'K', which Anta says "symbolizes knowing oneself thus forming harmony." The reflection also intended to maintain the reference to the number 11 from the Nike logo, representing Irving's shirt number through his career at the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and now the Dallas Mavericks (coincidentally, it could also represent a 2, which he previously wore for the Mavericks).
Meanwhile, Anta says the four peaks at the top of the logo represent "Speed, Focus, Agility and Strength," while the outer edges on the bottom stand for "Father and Mother," and the two sharp points in the bottom-middle represent "Family Roots." That's a lot of meaning.
The logo was revealed while Irving is on a tour of China with the brand. To promote the reveal in the US, the brand has hired four artists to paint 11 murals featuring the logo in Newark, New York City, Los Angeles & Dallas.
The design has a more angular and aggressive look than Irving's logo with Nike. A lot of fans like it, responding with fire emojis on Twitter, but some say they think Nike's design was clearer and more iconic. Some fans are getting New York Yankees vibes, while others suggest the design borrows from the logo of WWE wrestler Roman Reigns or the hip hop group Kottonmouth Kings. It does have a wrestler or metal band feel to it.
And some don't seem to be getting the reference to the harmony of self knowledge communicated in the mirrored letters. "Kyrie Kirving?" one person asked on Twitter. "It looks like it should be for someone who goes by #JL11… or a funhouse mirror version of the Yankees logo," someone else wrote.
Looks like this one from a sports team. And why 2 K's, it makes no sense. pic.twitter.com/tjunCEPUrsSeptember 22, 2023
KMK been around for 30 years pic.twitter.com/pFR5HCRsUtSeptember 21, 2023
Anta expects to release a Kyrie Irving shoe early next year. Considering Irving's fame and popularity, it's almost guaranteed that it will sell even if the logo design doesn't make it into our pick of the best sports logos.