Anthony Edwards has had a huge summer. After averaging 31.6 points in the playoffs against the eventual-champion Denver Nuggets, Ant continued his ascent to superstardom in the off-season. While playing for the USA’s FIBA team, Ant established himself as the go-to scorer amongst a group of upcoming NBA stars. Although Team USA ultimately did not medal, Edwards played fantastic throughout the tournament and earned the praise of two of the best coaches in the league.
Steve Kerr famously said Ant is “unquestionably the guy” on Team USA. “You can see he knows it,” Kerr continued. “But now the team knows it, and I think the fans see it. … He genuinely believes he’s the best player in the gym every single night. And he’s such a dynamic young player. I think he’s taking a leap.”
We know who that is. It’s hard not to look at Anthony Edwards and not see Dwyane Wade in him. I’m not a guy for comparisons, I’m not. But the way he moves, the way he competes, the way he electrifies a crowd. Yes, that reminds me of No. 3, and I have told Anthony that. I feel like I’m going back in time. It’s making me younger again. I’m really enjoying it.
Edwards has capped off his successful summer with his first signature shoes. Earlier this week, Adidas Basketball officially announced that they are elevating Edwards to a “signature Athlete” and unveiled Ant’s signature shoes. Eric Wise, Global General Manager of adidas Basketball, said the following of Ant in a press release for the shoes:
Anthony Edwards is the true definition of what it means to be a superstar. His journey is already legendary, representing hope, determination, and boundless potential to so many — and his future promises to shine even brighter. Ant’s unstoppable athleticism, love for the game, commitment to his family, and unwavering loyalty make him 1 of 1, and adidas is thrilled to welcome him to our signature roster.
“The launch of the AE 1 is without a doubt, one of the pinnacles of my career and life to date,” said Edwards. “Having the support of adidas Basketball, joining basketball legends who I’ve looked up to on their roster, is a dream come true. This is just the beginning — believe that.”
The phrase “Believe that” is also being used as a part of the marketing campaign for the shoes, along with a logo that looks like an A blended with an E on a backdrop of Georgia peach inspired orange.
At the unveiling on Ant’s shoes in his hometown of Atlanta, it was announced that Atlanta has proclaimed August 5th “Anthony Edwards appreciation day.” In addition, rapper Lil Baby, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Edwards, performed at the event. It was a great collaboration, especially since Ant has shouted out Lil Baby as one of his favorite rappers a few times. Edwards once said that when he raps, he sounds similar to Lil Baby.
The shoe deal is an amazing way for Ant to end his summer and start the next season. Timberwolves fans already know that Ant is quickly becoming one of the best players in the league. But getting a signature shoe and becoming one of Adidas’ featured athletes will help Ant reach different markets in America and around the globe. He deserves to be recognized for his early career success, especially considering that he almost single-handedly ushered in a new era of hope for Wolves fans.
Off the court, Ant’s rise to fame should also bring several positive things to the Timberwolves franchise. The Wolves have been snubbed for national TV games for what feels like the franchise’s entire history. While part of that is the franchise’s lack of success, it’s also because they’ve lacked a true superstar personality since they traded Kevin Garnett. By all accounts, Edwards has an infectious personality that his teammates and coaches love and fans of the sport gravitate to. Ant’s play and personality will almost certainly demand that ESPN and TNT schedule the Wolves more often next season, especially if the Wolves make a playoff run this year.
For as famous as Edwards has gotten, he’s stayed relatively humble, and doesn’t lose sight of his No. 1 goal — winning. Amidst Edwards’ FIBA success this summer, he said that basketball is “a team sport, if I wanted to punch my chest and do that, I’d go play golf or tennis or swimming like Michael Phelps. I’d go do something that’s an individual sport. But it takes five guys to win a basketball game.” We are truly lucky to have such a special player and human on the Wolves.