Ask some of his past teams or teammates, and they might say dealing with Kyrie Irving can be precarious. Nike is learning this first hand as the NBA superstar point guard aired out the brand over his alleged non-involvement in the design and marketing of his next signature sneaker.
If Nike maintains its usual timeline, the new Nike Kyrie 8 would be released shortly before the new NBA season. An image of the new model recently leaked on Instagram (via @k11kicks), and the Brooklyn Nets point guard commented, and it was nothing nice.
“I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8, IMO these are trash!,” wrote Irving. “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.”
Part of the appeal of Irving’s popular, and surely profitable, signature line of kicks with Nike has been his involvement in the design process. “We’ve consistently made sure that the features of my shoe translate over to me and my game,” said Kyrie Irving in a statement when releasing the Nike Kyrie 7 in 2020. “Talking about creativity, you’re constantly exploring new ways of doing things. I’m always thinking about how we can grow existing silhouettes or try something completely new.”
So this latest revelation from Irving about his displeasure is quite the eyebrow-raiser. At this point in the process, it’s unlikely the Swoosh will just trash the shoe, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Also, Irving’s discontent might be news to Nike, too. We reached out to Nike for comment, but have yet to hear back.