Nike suspended Irving’s Kyrie 8 shoes last month and now the relationship between the brand and athlete has come to an end.
It’s the latest bit of fallout stemming from earlier this season when Irving promoted a film on social media that spouted anti-semitic rhetoric. Nike suspended Irving’s Kyrie 8 shoes on Nov. 4 before cutting ties entirely, though the deal was originally set to expire Oct. 1, 2023.
During the suspension in November, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said on CNBC that the relationship was likely over.
“Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple,” Knight said. “He made some statements that we just can’t abide by, and that’s why we ended the relationship. I was fine with that.”
On the court, Irving is still performing at his peak, averaging 24.4 points for a 13-12 Nets’ squad. He confirmed that he’ll become a sneaker free agent with a GIF that says: “Let the party begin.”
Though Nike has not disclosed the revenue Irving’s shoes have brought in, his partnership with the Swoosh is reported at $11 million annually. During Irving’s 2021-22 campaign in which he played only played 29 games after he refused the COVID-19 vaccine, ESPN reported that Nike was “skeptical” about his future in the NBA.
It’s worth noting that while Nike’s stock dropped a staggering 41% this past year. An equity analyst at Morningstar told The New York Times that cutting Kyrie won’t be a make-or-break decision for the company.
“There are some things that are outside of Nike’s control,” David Swartz said. “This Kyrie Irving situation was in Nike’s control. They can drop him.”
Irving wore the “Triple Black” Nike Kyrie 4 against the Sixers on Nov. 24, which suddenly went viral after some though he was wearing Skechers. That same week, he wore the Nike Kyrie 1 with two X’s over the Swoosh logo and “A11even Tribe” written on the midsole of the sneaker.
Irving’s first Nike shoe dropped in 2014, and they’ve become popular among fans and players alike. Now, he’ll hit the free agency market both on the court and in the sneaker world after the season wraps up.
- NFT Sales Roundup: Bored Ape With Beam Eyes Sells for $800K
- What’s Next for Jimmy Garoppolo in Free Agency?
- Serena Williams Teams Up for Excellence in Rémy Martin’s First-ever Super Bowl Commercial
- Biggest WNBA Contracts of the 2023 Offseason
- Boardroom Q&A: Austin Reaves Talks LeBron Lessons & Adjusting to an NBA Diet