Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete. This announcement, shared by NBA pundit Shams Charania via a Nike spokesperson, comes just one month after the company suspended its relationship with the 30-year-old due to him sharing an anti-semitic film on social media.
The NBA Champion took to Twitter after Shams’ announcement to express gratitude to all who purchased his products. “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.”
Prior to the aforementioned Tweet, he shared a gif that reads “There’s nothing more priceless than being free.”
Nike was set to release Irving’s new shoe, the Kyrie 8, on Nov. 8 before the partnership was suspended. Kyrie Irving boasted the second-most lucrative Nike shoe line behind his former teammate, LeBron James, and had been signed to Nike since 2014. His deal was originally set to end on Oct. 1, 2023.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement at the time of the initial suspension. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Nike founder Phil Knight said the partnership was likely finished on Nov. 10. “I would doubt that we go back,” Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported. “…Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that.”
The Brooklyn Nets star posted the 2018 film Hebrews To Negroes: Wake Up Black America! on his social media on Thursday, Oct. 27. The film, directed by Ronald Dalton Jr. and based on his 2015 novel of the same name, “uncovers the true identity of the Children Of Israel” and touches on “Jewish slave ships.”
The 2014 FIBA World Cup MVP received backlash on social media and was questioned in press conferences, citing that his sharing of the film on social media was not meant to be considered a promotion. Irving’s unwillingness to denounce anti-semitism led to his being suspended for five games without pay. Upon the suspension, Irving offered an apology via Instagram on Nov. 3.
“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. I initially reacted out of emotion to unjustly being 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.”