On Tuesday, Kevin Durant sent shockwaves through NBA Twitter when he was noncommittal about signing another extension with the franchise. It also didn’t help matters that he couldn’t confirm whether Kyrie Irving or James Harden are planning to extend their stay.
Nothing like leaving the door open for a potential exodus after 2022, right?
If Nets fans thought that was entertaining, wait until you get a load of this. Giving Durant’s bombshell zero time to marinate amongst analysts and pundits, Irving was trending on social media roughly 24 hours later…and not for the reason you might think.
In a response to an Instagram post that shared photos of the latest edition of Irving’s signature shoe (the Kyrie 8), the Nets point guard grilled Nike over the coals, claiming to have zero involvement in the sneaker’s design or marketing.
Not exactly what you want to hear before a big release.
Nets PG Kyrie Irving is beside himself over Nike’s design of his new signature shoe.
"“I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8, IMO these are trash!” Irving wrote on IG. “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.”"
This is an unfortunate turn of events for Irving, who has regularly produced one of the highest-selling shoes of any superstar in the NBA. It’s clear the design of the shoe — other than the fact that one of the game’s best point guards wears them — has played a role in its popularity.
Nike has prided itself on collaborating with its athletes during the design process, but it’s obvious Irving wasn’t consulted as it relates to eighth edition of his shoe.
In fairness to the seven-time All-Star (and Nike), it isn’t uncommon for athletes, especially basketball stars to voice frustration over their signature sneaker. If you recall, LeBron James loathed the design of the LeBron 6, which resulted in Nike starting from scratch…which ultimately paved the way for former sketcher Jason Petrie to become James’ lead designer.
Even Michael Jordan wasn’t a fan of the Air Jordan. In other words, Irving’s outburst was hardly a diamond in the rough, so fans shouldn’t be quick to jump him for it.
The Nets star clearly felt offended enough to call out the company on a public platform, and it’s worth speculating where this hiccup will leave Irving and Nike. Does a divorce loom, or will cooler heads prevail and the Kyrie 9 becomes the hottest shoe in the market this time next year?
We’ll know soon enough.