NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo has secured a long-term contract with messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Meta Platform Inc., to help spread the word about its brand throughout the globe, making him the first-ever global brand partner.
He was photographed walking down the tunnel before Sunday’s All-Star game donned in a green tie-dye reversible hoodie with Nigeria’s country code ‘+234’ across the chest and his family name Adetokunbo on the back. The hoodie is a collaboration between him, WhatsApp, and Nigerian-American designer Niyi Okuboyejo‘s fashion label Post-Imperial.
Announcing his new status as a Whatsapp Partner, he wrote on Instagram, “My family has always relied on WhatsApp to stay connected across the world. My relationship with WhatsApp, and now my partnership, is such an important part of who I am. We talk for hours, share our ups and downs, and of course, tell tons of jokes 😁. But this isn’t just my story. Together, WhatsApp and I want to shine a light on the millions of us across time zones doing all we can to stay connected with the people who mean everything to us.”
Okuboyejo said he was inspired by a dyeing process called Adire that’s traditional in southwestern Nigeria. “Adire dyeing is a form of storytelling for Nigerians,” he explained. “If you have ever been to Nigeria, you understand that we move and communicate via WhatsApp. As a Nigerian-American designer, it was an incredible honor to collaborate with Giannis and WhatsApp. Giannis represents a pinnacle of excellence in our community and our commitment to thrive. The hoodie is an ode to our Nigerian roots, inspired by the Nigerian flag. This was a collaboration between myself, Giannis, local Nigerian dye artisans and Nigerian tailors, all connected through WhatsApp.”
When the hoodie is turned inside out, a silk side with squiggly lines is revealed. The lines appear in groups of two, three, and four, representing the Nigerian international phone code.
Giannis’s #NBAAllStar hoodie is the result of a collab between him, @WhatsApp, and the fashion brand Post-Imperial from Nigerian-American designer Niyi Okyboyejo: https://t.co/obnWnGCWpr pic.twitter.com/XAuIeqas2s
— GQ Sports (@GQSports) February 21, 2022