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Kyrie Irving's Relationship with Nike Likely Over, Co-Founder Phil Knight Says

Adam WellsNovember 10, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets brings the ball up the court during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on November 01, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

As Kyrie Irving's status with the Brooklyn Nets remains uncertain, his partnership with Nike could be coming to an end.

During an appearance on CNBC that aired Thursday (h/t the Associated Press), Nike co-founder Phil Knight said it's unlikely the company will keep its working relationship with Irving.

"I would doubt that we go back," Knight explained. "But I don't know for sure."

Nike announced last week it suspended its relationship with Irving and canceled the scheduled release of his new signature shoe that was scheduled to launch on Nov. 11.

The decision comes amid the fallout from Irving's promotion of a movie containing antisemitic ideas.

Despite being given multiple opportunities, Irving refused to apologize in the immediate aftermath. Speaking to reporters Nov. 3, Irving refused to say sorry or say definitively he didn't have antisemitic beliefs.

Nets Videos @SNYNets

Kyrie Irving says he didn't mean to cause any harm in sharing a post to a film that has been described as anti-Semitic:<br><br>"I'm not the one that made the documentary" <a href="https://t.co/NkRvZDoqbS">pic.twitter.com/NkRvZDoqbS</a>

After Irving's press conference, the Nets announced they were suspending the seven-time All-Star for at least five games and that he won't be reinstated until he "satisfies a series of objective remedial measures" to address the negative impact caused by his conduct.

Following the suspension announcement, Irving issued an apology on Instagram:

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

Kyrie Irving issues an apology amid antisemitism controversy that led to his suspension by Nets: β€œTo 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.” <a href="https://t.co/QUXt1WtK2g">pic.twitter.com/QUXt1WtK2g</a>

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported a list of six things the Nets are requiring Irving to complete before considering reinstating him:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Nets have delivered Kyrie Irving six items he must complete to return to team: <br><br>- Apologize/condemn movie<br>- $500K donation to anti-hate causes<br>- Sensitivity training<br>- Antisemitic training<br>- Meet with ADL, Jewish leaders<br>- Meet with Joe Tsai to demonstrate understanding

Charania reported Irving and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver met in person Tuesday.

Per ESPN's Nick Friedell, Irving's contact with Nike was set to expire Oct. 1, 2023. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported in May the sports apparel giant was "unlikely" to renew its deal with the Nets guard.

Irving signed with Nike in 2011, the same year he was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His first signature shoe was released in 2014.