Nets guard Kyrie Irving took to social media on Wednesday afternoon addressing leaked photos of his next Nike shoe release. Dubbed the "Kyrie 8," Irving did not take kindly to the product.
In the comment section under the post, Irving voiced his displeasure:
"I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8, [in my opinion] these are trash! I have Absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my okay regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance to all of my sneaker heads and true supporters of the #KAI11 brand"Kyrie Irving
With this comes a few questions. Namely about why Nike would develop and plan to release a shoe without the endorsed athlete's approval. Then again, the picture displayed above only gives certain angles of one version of the potential product. That said, we should wait to see how the situation progresses from here.
Other NBA stars' relationship with Nike
This will be the eighth shoe release for Kyrie Irving with the Nike brand, as revealed by its name. His first came back in late 2014 when he still played with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Other NBA stars under contract with Nike include Irving's teammate Kevin Durant, Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For the most part, Nike has seemingly maintained positive relationships with its NBA clients. However, they aren't without faults in recent history. In fact, reports from late 2020 suggest that the late Kobe Bryant had grown unhappy with the premier brand. The Hall-of-Famer had reportedly planned to part ways with them in favor of starting a player-owned brand weeks before his untimely passing.
In early June, Bryant's wife Vanessa alleged that Nike leaked shoes representing her late daughter Gianna without her consent. These recent developments align with the shoe brand not always catering to their client's wishes. If true, that could prove detrimental to the company's success down the road.