How NBA-China Controversy Affects Gordon Hayward’s Anta Sneaker Contract

Gordon Hayward’s relationship with Anta remains strong as ever.
The Boston Celtics forward revealed to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach on Friday the NBA-China controversy hasn’t affected his endorsemnt deal with the Chinese sportswear company. Hayward signed a reported four-year contract with Anta last fall, and his signature sneaker, the “Anta GH1” will be released in December, as scheduled, despite the tensions between China and the NBA.

“They were like, ‘Hey, our relationship stays the same,’” Hayward told Himmelsbach. “So that’s kind of what I know about it, and they’ve been nothing but good to me.”
Anta reportedly is halting its contract-renewal negations with the NBA in the aftermath of China’s fall-out with the league over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters.
Hayward admits he’s not well-versed in the China-Hong Kong issue, but it seemingly hasn’t affected his positive feelings for Anta.
“I haven’t followed everything about it,” Hayward said. “I kind of have an understanding of what’s going on. I think it’s a complicated issue.
“I know my relationship with them, with Anta, hasn’t changed. I have a great relationship with them. They’ve been really good to me, and after going to China, I had a great time and the people there were super nice to me and my family. So that’s kind of all I know about the situation.”
The NBA, which is trying to heal its relationship to China and companies based there, likely will view Hayward’s comments favorably, perhaps as a signal the involved parties are ready to return to conducting business.