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Report: Ja Morant to Receive Signature Nike Shoe After Kyrie Irving's Exit

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

Ja Morant is getting his signature shoe.

Nike reportedly will be working with the Memphis Grizzlies' star point guard on a signature line of sneakers after dropping Kyrie Irving on Monday, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Memphis Grizzlies All-NBA star Ja Morant is in line to receive a new signature shoe at Nike in the near future, industry sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>. The parties have been working on this for several months. <a href="https://t.co/RzKf9JEIf1">https://t.co/RzKf9JEIf1</a>

Morant, 23, has emerged as one of the NBA's brightest young stars since being drafted No. 2 overall by Memphis in 2019. He's shown improvement every season and has been superb in the 2022-23 campaign, averaging 28.5 points, 7.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 37 percent from three.

He's also one of the most exciting and explosive players to watch in the NBA, with an impressive highlight reel of astonishing finishes in his young career.

That makes him highly marketable, so getting a signature shoe seemed like an inevitability. The end of Irving's relationship with Nike potentially accelerated the process.

Irving, 30, had one of Nike's most popular signature shoe lines over the years, but the company suspended him on Nov. 4 after he amplified an antisemitic film on social media. After Irving refused to denounce antisemitism and apologize for his actions on more than one occasion while speaking with reporters, Nike took action, and Irving was suspended as well by the Nets.

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

Irving is now a sneaker free agent, a fact he didn't seem to be lamenting on social media Monday:

Hélà @KyrieIrving

<a href="https://t.co/XwLDw6nhmS">pic.twitter.com/XwLDw6nhmS</a>

It remains to be seen if Irving will land another shoe or apparel deal and whether his actions surrounding his promotion of the antisemitic film will affect his appeal for those companies.