With Kyrie Irving making his debut with the Dallas Mavericks on February 8, 2023, the world saw the former Nets star in great form. However, there was one thing that struck out the most, his shoes. The shoes had something handwritten on it.
Before the game, when the players were warming up, Kyrie Irving was spotted writing some messages on top of the black tape that was covering up the shoe logo. The shoes that he wore were a red-and-white pair from one of his signature Nike shoes.
The messages were written in gold and capital letters. On the right side, it read ‘Black liberation’ while on the left side, it read ‘Free all of my people’. Apart from this, the inner side of the shoe has his ‘Hélà’ signature. However, the reason for Kyrie hiding the logo is a quite speculative story. Let’s take a look at it in detail.
Why did Nike terminate their contract with Kyrie Irving?
Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is currently in no endorsement deal with a shoe company. His Nike deal was discarded on December 5, 2022, while he was with the Nets. As per sources, Kyrie was promoting a film called ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America’. The 2018 film was based on antisemitism and holocaust-related conspiracy theories.
Following the actions of Kyrie, Nike publicly announced terminating their deal with him. “Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete” – they said. With this, the multi-million dollar sponsorship deal of $11 million that was one of the largest with an NBA player was dissolved. Apart from this, the ‘Kyrie 8’ shoe collection which was due for release on November 2023, was also stopped.
Nike has suspended its deal with Kyrie Irving “effective immediately” and is scrapping the release of the Kyrie 8.
Deal was initially set to expire on October 1, 2023. Irving’s signature series had been one of the industry’s top selling lines in recent years. pic.twitter.com/Q9xg7eOkHl
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) November 5, 2022
Kyrie was also suspended for playing eight games with the Nets as he refused to apologize. However, later, he did apologize for his actions publicly on his Instagram page. “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected by my post. I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.” – he wrote.
Despite the controversy, Kyrie Irving with his debut performance with the Mavericks can prove to be a great trade-in NBA. However, Kevin is yet to play alongside Luka Doncic who is currently injured.