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'We stand with him': Kyrie Irving fans back NBA player after Nike cuts ties over antisemitic post

The NBA player tweeted a graphic with the caption, 'There’s nothing more priceless than being free'
Nike officially cuts ties with Kyrie Irving (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Nike officially cuts ties with Kyrie Irving (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Nike and NBA star Kyrie Irving ended their business partnership on Monday, December 5, capping off their years-long association. The move comes after Nike suspended the relationship and canceled the release of the Brooklyn Nets point guard's upcoming Kyrie 8 signature shoe after Irving shared a link to an antisemitic book and film on social media.

“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” Nike said in a statement. "Kyrie stepped over the line. It's kind of that simple," Nike co-founder Phil Knight told CNBC on November 10. "He made some statements that we just can't abide by, and that's why we ended the relationship. I was fine with that." However, Shetellia Riley Irving, Irving's agent, referred to the choice as mutual. She said, "We have mutually decided to part ways and wish Nike the best in their future endeavors."


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One of Nike's most successful and well-liked sneakers has long been under Irving's ownership. After breaking off the ties, the star guard hinted that he would find another means of conducting independent sneakers sales. "Anyone who has even spent their hard earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected," he wrote in a tweet. “It’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.” Irving also tweeted a graphic with the caption: “There’s nothing more priceless than being free."



The basketball player's shoe line has been produced by Nike since 2014, and Irving's contract with the company was slated to expire in October 2023. Irving is now a sneaker-free agent and can sign a new endorsement deal with the brand partner of his choice because the contract's cancellation was made clear in advance of its planned expiration.

The Brooklyn Nets also suspended Irving, 30, last month; however, he rejoined the team again on November 20. Irving apologized on Instagram a few days after his initial post included the movie link. “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,” he wrote.  

Irving's yearly signature shoe line, Kyrie 8, has been one of the best-selling complete signature footwear businesses in the industry. Only behind LeBron James' trademark line, it was Nike's second-most lucrative current athlete franchise in recent years. Irving became the 20th NBA player in league history to obtain his own signature shoe in 2014 after signing with Nike as a rookie in 2011.

'Kyrie was already leaving Nike'

Meanwhile, fans were supportive of Irving as many took to social media to respond to the news. One tweeted, "Keep doing your thing. Don’t let them knock you off your hustle." Another commented, "Watching this play out has been beyond entertaining. If the races and roles were reversed we all know what would be happening. Outrage, more awareness and protests.. Good for Nike." A third said, "Kyrie was already leaving Nike. Nike just trynna sound like heroes." A fourth chimed in, "i speak for everyone when i say we stand with kyrie." Another tweeted, "Wish people would keep that same energy across the board. Kids are sewing together Nike shoes for pennies. Kyrie didn't make the movie. Amazon said they are not taking it down. Shaq's theater premiered it. No up roar for those profiting. I have no side in this just stating facts."






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