- Kyrie Irving took responsibility for the negative impact on the Jewish community that was caused by his appearing to support an antisemitic work.
- Irving had drawn criticism around the NBA — including from Nets owner Joe Tsai — for posting a link to a film deemed offensive.
- “I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles,” Irving said. “I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen.”
Washington: Nike said on Monday that it has totally severed ties with Brooklyn Nets point player Kyrie Irving after first suspending its collaboration with him and cancelling the release of his planned Kyrie 8 signature shoe last month.
"Kyrie is no longer a Nike athlete," a Nike company spokesperson told ESPN.
The company's signature endorsement agreement with Irving was set to expire on October 1, 2023. The contract was abruptly terminated 11 months before it was set to expire after Irving shared a link to antisemitic messaging on social media.
Refusal to apologise
Irving had posted a link to a book and movie containing antisemitic messaging on Twitter in October and initially refused to apologise.
Irving took to Twitter Monday to write, "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 sneakers are worn by approximately 68% of NBA players during games.
Since the release of the Kyrie 1, the annual Kyrie model has been one of the most popular shoes in the league.
According to KixStats.com, 164 players have worn the Kyrie 7 in games so far. Dozens of players frequently wear the lower-priced Kyrie Low model, while others alternate between previous years' models.
Irving is now a sneaker-free agent and could sign a new endorsement deal with the brand partner of his choice, thanks to the clarity of the contract's termination arriving now, far before its scheduled 2023 expiration, as reported by ESPN.com.
Irving, who signed with Nike as a rookie in 2011, became the 20th NBA player in league history to obtain his own signature sneaker in 2014.