Nike Are Unlikely to Extend Kyrie Irving's Signature Shoe Deal
Extremely talented but undeniably mercurial, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving is one of the NBA's biggest enigmas. From his flat earth truthing to his refusal to get vaccinated – which caused him to miss most of the 2021-22 season – and his claim last summer that his Kyrie 8 sneaker with Nike was 'trash,' Irving is unafraid to stir the pot and speak his mind. Earlier today, he even went on an Instagram Live rant about 'cockroaches' who didn't want him to 'live life having fun.' Now, it appears as if the Swoosh may have had their fill of Irving's antics as a report from ESPN indicates that they will not renew his signature sneaker when it expires after the 2022-23 NBA season.
Irving has had a signature Nike line since 2014, and his models have long been among the most popular basketball shoes the brand produces next to other hoopers like LeBron James and Paul George. Because of this popularity, ESPN reports that Nike may continue to offer Kyrie-associated products in the future, but no new signature models are set to be produced beyond the forthcoming Kyrie 9, created for the 2022-23 season. Nike was noncommital in replying to a request for comment from ESPN, with a spokesperson stating 'We don't comment on contracts or rumours or speculation. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete.'
It's unclear if Kyrie will choose to become a sneaker free agent after his deal expires, or if he'll latch on with a competitor like adidas, PUMA or Under Armour. The Three Stripes may hold some interest for Irving as a potential landing place if Nike indeed decides not to extend their partnership – in the past, they gave a disgruntled Kanye West a place on their roster and made him into one of the most powerful players in the footwear industry, and they've also teamed with Fear of God founder/former Nike collaborator Jerry Lorenzo, who's now leading creative direction for their basketball division.
Stay tuned for more info on Kyrie's sneaker future as it's made available!