It appears Kyrie Irving’s time with Nike as a signature athlete is coming to an end.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Nike is unlikely to extend its signature sneaker deal with Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving. Irving has had one of the brand’s most popular and profitable signature sneaker lines.
Irving and Nike will release another version of his signature sneaker this fall, but this is expected to be the final year of his signature deal, sources revealed to ESPN, marking the end of a relationship that began in 2014. “We don’t comment on contracts or rumors or speculation. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete,” a spokesperson for Nike told the Disney-owned sports network.
In spite of his signature sneaker line being put on ice, Nike is expected to continue working with the polarizing basketball star due to his “popularity” and will “offer some product associated with him in the future, such as retro shoes from previous collections.”
In July, Irving publicly lashed out at Nike on social media calling the design of his Kyrie 8 signature sneaker “trash,” claiming, “I have nothing to do with the design or marketing,” adding, “Nike plans to release it without my okay.”
Irving did issue a statement taking back those words, and he did warm up to sneaker, rocking it during the season, but it appears the damage was done with Nike ultimately deciding to move on.
His signature deal with Nike is not the only thing he has to worry about. His future with the Brooklyn Nets is not set in stone, even though he expressed the desire to remain with the franchise. During his end-of-season press conference Wednesday (May.11), Nets general manager Sean Marks stated he expects more out of Irving and didn’t commit to the Nets signing Irving to an extension.
“I think we know what we’re looking for,” said Marks. “We’ve looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here.”
Irving’s stance to not get vaccinated served as a huge distraction and pretty much led to the team stumbling into the playoffs, where the Boston Celtics swept them.
Photo: Nike / Kyrie 7