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Nike may not renew its contract with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, a deal that has earned both sides a ton of money since it was signed in 2014.
According to ESPN, “the uncertainties surrounding his future in the NBA have prevented the company from extending it to a similar signed deal beyond the 2022-23 season.”
Fans will recall that New York City and state government regulations prevented Irving from playing in most of his home games at Barclays Center last season because he rejected the COVID vaccine. He was eventually allowed to participate in some street games, so New York changed its regulations to allow unvaccinated pro athletes, including Irving, to return to work without restrictions.
The Nets reached the playoffs but were overwhelmed by the Heat in the first round.
Meanwhile, Nike shoe aficionados remain as loyal as ever. Irving had one of the most popular and profitable designer shoe lines in history and Nike will likely continue a collaboration with him, possibly with “retro shoes from previous collections”, for ESPN. But the main contract is likely to expire without an extension after the 2022-2023 season, even with a new set of shoes coming out this fall.
When reached for comment, ESPN told Nike, “We don’t comment on contracts, rumors or speculations. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete.”
Irving may currently be “a Nike athlete,” but he hasn’t always been happy with the product Nike released on his behalf.
Last summer, Irving openly criticized the design of the Nike Kyrie 8, calling them “junk” and insisting that “I have nothing to do with design or marketing” and that “Nike plans to release it without my ok. “, for ESPN.
All in all, it looks like this slow divorce has come a long time ago.