Kyrie Irving Dropped from Nike Contract After Promoting Antisemitic Film

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets drives against the Washington Wizards during their game at Barclays Center on November 30, 2022 in New York City.  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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is no longer under contract with Nike after the two sides have parted ways, a spokesperson told Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Nike initially suspended its relationship with the veteran guard in November after he shared an antisemitic film on social media and refused to disavow antisemitism.

"At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism," Nike said in a statement at the time. "We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone."

The Kyrie 8 launch was also canceled after initially being slated for a Nov. 8 release.

Nike founder Phil Knight indicated in an interview with CNBC that the relationship with Irving was likely finished.

"I would doubt that we go back," Knight said, via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. "...Kyrie stepped over the line. It's kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can't abide by and that's why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that."

Irving has been with Nike since 2011, with his popular signature shoe line starting in 2014. His current endorsement deal, which is reportedly about $11 million per year, was slated to expire in October 2023.

The 30-year-old had also been suspended by the Nets as a result of his off-court actions for a minimum of five games until he completed a series of tasks, including antisemitic and sensitivity training. He eventually rejoined the team after eight games away.

"I'm not antisemitic, I never have been. I don't have hate in my heart for the Jewish people, or anyone that identifies as a Jew. I'm not anti-Jewish or any of that," Irving told Ian Begley of SNY upon his return.

The seven-time All-Star has appeared in 17 games this season, averaging 24.4 points and 4.4 assists per game.