The Continental Basketball Association (CBA) signed an agreement with N.E.X.T. Up Footwear that makes N.E.X.T. Up the league's official athletic shoe supplier.

The agreement allows the San Antonio, Texas-based company to exclusively produce shoes for the CBA, the National Basketball Association's official developmental league.

"We are pleased to partner with N.E.X.T. Up as the official shoe for the Continental Basketball Association," said CBA President, Don Welsh. "With its innovative designs and athletic performance, it will provide great benefit to all of our players. As we prepare to launch the 2000-2001 season in December, the 10 CBA teams are well under way in their pre-season preparations. Bringing the Continental Basketball Association and N.E.X.T. Up Footwear together is an important step for both organizations in that it demonstrates that both organizations are completely dedicated to the highest levels of performance building brand recognition which properly reflects their respective images." N.E.X.T. Up will use its UFIT patented fit and closure lacing system in its footwear for the CBA.

"We're proud to be associated with an established league like the CBA," said Bill Corrigan, Director of N.E.X.T. Up. "We think the players will really feel a difference with our N.E.X.T. Up shoe because the lacing, in effect, cradles the foot, reducing pressure on the upper parts of the foot and providing greater lateral support."

In-Stride, Inc (parent company of N.E.X.T. Up footwear) began operating in July of 1998 when CEO Tom Adams decided to return to the footwear industry after a successful run in the 1980s. He founded and led Kaepa, Inc to annual sales of $51m before he left the business in 1986. In-Stride is pursuing a creative business strategy that not only involves addressing the special footwear needs of underserved groups of consumers, but also includes an innovative sales incentive plan to encourage the distribution of products through direct sales, e-commerce and independent retailers. In-Stride is based in San Antonio, Texas.

The CBA was founded in 1946 as the Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League and is the longest running professional basketball league in the US. Today, the league consists of 10 teams stretching from Hartford, Conn, to Yakima, Wash. During the 1999-2000 season, the CBA transmitted games on the Internet, via video web cast, and is the first professional sports league that can call itself The Digital League(TM). The CBA's official relationship with the NBA began in 1978 as a referee developmental program and turned into a referee and player developmental program in 1980. The 1999-2000 season marked the CBA's 20th as the Official Developmental League of the NBA. Over the past 22 years (1978-2000), the league has enjoyed a total of 538 CBA-to-NBA player call-ups.