Burrell launches inaugural ANTA campaign ‘KAI 1, The Origin Story’

Burrell Communications Group announced the release of KAI 1, The Origin Story, the first advertising campaign for the signature ANTA KAI 1 basketball shoe.

The inaugural campaign from Burrell supports the newly released Enlightened Warrior, the second colorway of the ANTA KAI 1, inspired by ANTA Chief Creative Officer and global basketball icon Kyrie Irving. ANTA U.S. and Burrell’s partnership began in February of this year.

The spot, chronicling Irving’s ethos, takes audiences through a vivid visual timeline of his life beginning in childhood, and walking through his personal journey to swift collegiate stardom and finally the pro sports ranks, his success anchored by his mother’s constant spiritual presence and his father’s steady guidance. The storytelling is rendered in a dynamic and colorful fusion of live action, AI and anime-influenced animation, artfully integrating  ancient African and indigenous cultural imagery transitioning to the modern day—the narration documents his ascent to emerging as both an inspirational NBA icon and Chief Creative Officer of ANTA.

Burrell CCO Khari Streeter led the project for the agency in collaboration with Group Creative Director Corey Seaton, Creative Director Desmond Williams and Senior Art Director Claudio Garcia. Natalie Lum Freedman served as executive producer, teamed with Taryn Haughton, producer; Ruben Emmanuel as project manager; Corey Phifer account director and account manager Megan Bryant. The production company for the campaign was ThinkDiffusion, a Black‐owned technology company and emerging leader in AI who pioneered new techniques combining AI, CGI, motion graphics and compositing. Streeter also served as co-director on the project.

KAI 1, The Origin Story launched today in tandem with the Enlightened Warrior shoes’ availability at retail, an unprecedented speed-to-market since the Burrell-ANTA partnership was only announced in February. The new product complements the initial ANTA KAI 1 colorway introduced earlier this year, with this latest iteration echoing mysticism and magic in African culture, coupled with a deference to physical, mental and spiritual symbolism drawn directly from Irving’s own lineage and heritage.

ANTA Sports is a leading international brand of sportswear that has been engaged in the design, development, production and marketing of the ANTA series of sports equipment since the company’s founding in 1991. ANTA provides customers with professional sports products including footwear, apparel and accessories. NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks was named the company’s Chief Creative Officer in 2023 to shepherd ANTA’s foray into the American market.

“Our agency is excited for this first opportunity to showcase our work with our ANTA brand partners and the Irving family. We’re proud of the team’s efforts,” says Khari Streeter, Burrell CCO. “We delivered on the spirit of the Enlightened Warrior story by bringing to life the authentic identity of the basketball legend and cultural warrior that is Kyrie Irving.”

“This newest shoe offering is deeply rooted in cultural symbolism, color psychology and trending fashion, conceived to pay homage to Kyrie’s gifts, his heritage, legacy-in-the-making and his identity,” states noted Black footwear Design Director Jared Subawon of ANTA U.S. “What we wanted to rise to the fore was a treatment that pushed the boundaries of design, and at the same time showcased ANTA’s commitment to uplifting talent and narratives across the sneaker space, coupled with our investment in diverse, progressive representation. The vibrant new ‘KAI 1, The Origin Story’ spot seamlessly completes our product vision.”

“At A11Even Sports, we’re committed to cultivating partnerships that reflect the pulse of our audience—delivering beyond the expected into the realm of the groundbreaking,” said Shetellia Riley Irving, CEO. “Our latest collaboration with Burrell Communications Group wasn’t just about pushing boundaries. It was about offering a platform for voices and talents that resonate deeply with sneaker and basketball culture—creating work that authentically represents their vibrancy and spirit.”