It must be the shoes, right?
Kyrie Irving’s signature shoe line has long been among the most popular shoes in Nike’s catalog. Pull up to any asphalt court or dingy gymnasium in the country and you’re bound to see some beat up Kyries.
But, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Irving may not be a part of the Nike family for much longer. Irving’s contract with the company expires after the 2022-23 season.
And amid uncertainty over Irving’s NBA future, it appears Nike is unlikely to renew its deal with the 30-year old.
ESPN Sources with @RamonaShelburne: Kyrie Irving has long had one of Nike’s most popular and profitable signature shoes, but uncertainties surrounding his NBA future leave Nike unlikely to extend him to a similar signature deal beyond next season: https://t.co/RbGJMYVbLC
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 13, 2022
Irving has been on a lucrative deal with Nike since entering the league back in 2011. According to Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen, Irving reeled in $11 million in 2019.
However, the seven-time all star has been mired in controversy over the past two seasons. Irving remained unvaccinated against coronavirus throughout the year. Due to New York City mandates and Brooklyn Nets team policy, Irving was made inactive for much of the season. Eventually, the Nets changed course, granting Irving part-time status and allowing him to play road games. New York City mandates relaxed as well, allowing Irving to play home games toward the end of the season and during the playoffs.
But, the spectacle took a toll on Brooklyn. The seventh-seeded Nets were summarily swept by the Celtics in the first round. And questions surrounding Irving’s future only intensified. Irving, who averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists in 29 games this season, has a $37 million player option with the Nets for the 2022-23 season.
Irving’s relationship with the titan of sports apparel has appeared to sour in recent years, too. In July, Irving blasted Nike for its design of the latest edition of his signature shoe, the Kyrie 8.
Irving brandished the shoe as “trash”, saying that he had “nothing to do with the design or marketing” of the sneaker.
He walked back his comments shortly thereafter, but it appears that any lingering doubts about Irving’s long-term future with the company have been vindicated.