Nike announces parting of ways with pitchman Kyrie Irving

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 31: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during a break in the action during the fourth quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center on October 31, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — NBA star Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike pitchman, the legacy sportswear company announced Monday.

The news comes after the shoe and athletic apparel maker halted its relationship with the Brooklyn Nets guard in November as part of the fallout from his tweeting a link to a film containing material deemed antisemitic.

“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” the company said in a statement.

Kyrie, who signed with Nike in 2011 shortly after becoming the No. 1 pick in that year’s NBA draft, became the first player in six years to receive a signature sneaker with Nike when he landed the signature deal back in 2014.

That contract placed Irving in one of the most exclusive clubs in the shoe business — joining LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant at the time. 

The Kyrie line was also a hit, amassing popularity that led to him making a reported $11 million annually just from the Nike endorsement.

Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, told The New York Times that the sides “mutually decided to part ways and we just wish Nike all the best.”

Additionally, Irving, without mentioning Nike by name, appeared to address the matter Monday on his Twitter account.

“Anyone who has even spent their hard earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected,” the Nets guard wrote. “(I)t’s time to show how powerful we are as a community,” he tweeted.

Kyrie, however, is now a sneaker free agent, meaning another retail shoe giant can pick up where Nike left off.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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