Kyrie Irving‘s gotta have the last word when it comes to his expired Nike deal.
Wednesday night, as the Brooklyn Nets topped the Charlotte Hornets, marked the first time Irving stepped on the Barclay Center court as a sneaker free agent.
As with most things, he decided to make a statement by still wearing Nike’s — his Kyrie 3 PE in the “Raygun” colorway to be exact– but covering the swoosh logo with black tape. Then, atop the tape he wrote “logo here” on one side and “I Am Free Thank You God…I Am” to signify that he is no longer in contract with Nike.
Mid-game, he switched up the kicks but had the same sentiment in a bright blue pair that had orange swooshes scribbled over and all logos being crossed out.
Nike first put Kyrie’s partnership on hold after he began promoting an antisemitic movie entitled Negroes: Wake Up Black America and even canceled the release of the Kyrie 8.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech, and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
The Oregon-based company’s deal was already set to expire on Oct. 1 2023, but the Nike cofounder Phil Knight made it clear that a re-up was unlikely.
“Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by, and that’s why we ended the relationship. And, I was fine with that,” Knight said in a recent CNBC interview. “He was dug in. I would doubt that we go back.”
When his deal with Nike was officially over, Irving responded to Shams Charania’s tweet of the report with a gif that read “Let The Party Begin.”
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