It’s been a big week for former Texas A&M guard (and current Los Angeles Laker) Alex Caruso. Just days after having a Sports Illustrated feature story about him, Caruso has reached one of the highest trappings of NBA stardom: a sneaker deal.
You may not know this, but Caruso is a former ball boy at Texas A&M turned scholarship athlete, then turned G League pro player, before finally singing a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Lakers in 2019. While we all like to joke about his way-too-talked about underdog story, it is very cool to see a player continue to exceed what’s expected of him, and be rewarded handsomely for it. This shoe deal is just the latest evolution of that story.
If you’re not embedded in the world of sneakers (or even if you are), you may not be familar with Anta, but you likely will be soon. It’s a China-based shoe company that is currently the third-largest sportswear company in the world, and in recent years, has delved into the world of NBA player sponsorships. They currently have deals with NBA players Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans and Rajon Rondo, in addition to Caruso.
After years of being dominated by Nike, Jordan Brand and Adidas, the past few years have seen several companies like Anta delve back into the NBA market, including Puma (Demarcus Cousins, Kyle Kuzma, Deandre Ayton) and New Balance (Kawhi Leonard). Lesser known players like Caruso stand to benefit most from this expansion - players who Nike and others might have overlooked, but smaller brands are willing to feature prominently.
And with that, here’s a Caruso dunk compilation.