Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving blasted Nike a few days ago over his upcoming sneaker, the Kyrie 8, and summarily distanced himself from the Swoosh. Ever the mercurial personality, though, the 2012 Rookie of the Year appears to have since taken a breath and walked back his remarks a smidge.
“When you’re building something great,” Irving told Shams Charania of The Athletic, “there sometimes comes a point when you need to recalibrate and refocus to ensure everyone involved is aligned. This is where the KAI11 brand and Nike are. It was unfair to put the blame on Nike or any one person. With that being said, we are diligently working, restructuring, and reimagining things together to make sure we get it right.”
Irving’s diplomatic tone is a departure from his statement about the eighth installment in his signature line, which he’d made a few days earlier. When k11kicks previewed the shoes on Instagram, Irving had strong words about them and wrote, “I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8, IMO these are trash!” He went further and proceeded to attack the brand directly. “I have absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my okay regardless of what I say,” Irving continued, “so I apologize in advance to all of my sneaker heads and true supporters of the KAI11 brand.”
No official release date has been given for the Kyrie 8 yet, and odds are little will actually be re-tooled before the drop. In fact, the Kyrie line has been one of Nike’s best sellers in recent years, consistently rating high in popularity and performance. Plus, with an $11 million contract in tow, it’s unlikely that Irving wouldn’t want to mend fences with the Swoosh anyway.