Nike Makes Final Call on Future With Nets Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on April 08, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

On October 27, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving shared the link to a film that featured anti-Semitic tropes. His decision was met with a lot of criticism. Although the All-Star point guard eventually apologized for his decision to share the link, it was not in a timely enough fashion, as the Nets suspended him for a minimum of five games and required him to complete a list of tasks before returning.

In response to the backlash he received for sharing the link, sneaker giant Nike, who endorses Kyrie, suspended their relationship with the Nets star on November 4.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech, and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said of their decision to suspend their relationship with Kyrie in a statement via “The Athletic”. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

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Nike Relationship With Kyrie Likely Over

The sneaker giant was supposed to release Irving’s eighth signature sneaker later this fall, which would have been the final sneaker of his current contract. But it doesn’t look like the Nike Kyrie 8 will ever hit the shelves. Nike co-founder Phil Knight says that the company is unlikely to resume its relationship with the seven-time All-Star.

“I would doubt that we would go back, but I don’t know for sure,” Knight said during an appearance on CNBC on November 10 via “The Athletic”.

“Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple, so he made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And yeah, I was fine with that.”

Irving’s Future With Nike Was Already in Doubt

Irving’s contract with Nike expires at the same time as his contract with the Nets. It is one of the reasons that even before the sneaker brand suspended him for sharing the controversial link, his future with Nike was in question, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has long had one of Nike’s most popular and profitable signature basketball shoes, but uncertainties surrounding his NBA future have left the company unlikely to extend him to a similar signature deal beyond the 2022-23 season,” Wojnarowski wrote in July.

With Irving’s future with Nike looking grim, he could have a host of suitors looking to sign him to an endorsement deal this summer, depending on if he and the Nets can turn this season around. Pat Benson of “Sports Illustrated” says Irving is a player that can “propel” up-and-coming sneaker brand Puma to the next level.

“Since re-entering the performance basketball shoe market in 2018, Puma has made all the right moves. They have assembled a cast of exciting players, headlined by one signature athlete – LaMelo Ball,” Benson wrote in August.

“Besides Ball, the company has a strong history with NBA legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier. Jay-Z is Puma’s creative director, which never hurts in a pitch meeting. If Kyrie Irving took his talents to Puma, it could propel the German company past some of its competitors.”

With Irving apparently on the outs at Nike, it will be interesting to see who he signs with next.

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