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Nike ‘suspends’ relationship with Kyrie Irving, will not release Kyrie8 shoe

Kyrie Irving will not have his signature shoe released by Nike as the fallout of his decision to promote an antisemitic documentary continues.

Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving’s tweet publicizing an antisemitic video continues to cost him. Nike has suspended him and said it will not release his latest sneaker, the long-awaited Kyrie8. The Kyrie8 was scheduled to be released next week.

Here’s the statement by the Oregon-based footwear designer and manufacturer.

At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.

Darren Rovell of Action Network was first with the news.

Back in May, Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that Nike, which annually pays Irving about $11 million a year, was pulling back from their commitment to his signature line of shoes, one of the brand’s most popular. The two ESPN reporters suggested that “uncertainties surrounding his NBA future” led to the decision.

As CNBC’s Sara Eisen reported, Irving’s brand is among the top five best sellers for Nike, but sales are nowhere near those of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, etc.

Irving’s contract with Nike was supposed to end this season. He was one of only five NBA players to have a signature shoe with Nike. His relationship with Nike goes back to 2011, when he was drafted. His signature shoe deal began three years later. Now, the deal is suspended the final signature shoe will not be produced.

Putting aside his various controversies, the relationship between Irving and the Oregon-based company has also been troubled. In July of 2021, Irving lashed out on social media about the design of the Kyrie 8 edition of his shoe.

Irving is currently suspended by the Nets for at least five games and maybe longer following his use of social media accounts to publicize “Hebrews to Negroes” which is now among the best selling videos on Amazon in the “Religous and Spirituality” and “Ethnic Studies” sections.