Kyrie Irving’s Nike Contract Terminated
Nike and NBA star Kyrie Irving officially ended their 8-year business contract on Monday, October 31st. “Kyrie is no longer a Nike athlete,” a Nike spokesperson told ESPN. Shetellia Riley Irving, Kyrie Irving’s Agent, called it a mutual decision. “We have mutually decided to part ways and wish Nike the best in their future endeavors”.
Irving’s agreement with the company was scheduled to expire on Oct. 1, 2023. The agreement was suspended for one month before expiring after Irving posted a link on social media to a movie containing antisemitic messaging. He then refused for a time to say he was against antisemitism. Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight commented on the termination by saying “Kyrie stepped over the line. The founder then went on to say, “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism”.
Irving didn’t immediately comment on the news but did post a Twitter video captioned “There’s nothing more priceless than being free.” Kyrie Irving also posted an apology on Instagram. “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.” Irving posted a tweet Monday that suggested he’s relieved to be free from the Nike deal, “Anyone who has even spent their hard earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you family and we are forever connected. It’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.”
Nike dropped the price of Irving’s shoes one day after announcing the termination, offering discounts of up to 50% on some shoes. Just two days after being dropped by Nike, Kyrie Irving took the floor in Nike shoes, but covered the Nike logo with black tape. On the outside of one shoe, he wrote, “I am free, Thank you God… I am.” Despite cutting ties with Irving, Nike continues to have numerous contracts with NBA players. The company has business deals with some of the league’s biggest stars, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.