Global sportswear giant Nike and Brooklyn Nets’ point guard Kyrie Irving have parted ways.
The company had already suspended the superstar after a fallout over him tweeting a link to a film containing antisemitic material. Kyrie, initially, refused to apologise for his actions and was subsequently suspended by the National Basketball Association (NBA) with Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, later commentating that their working relationship was not salvageable.
“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” the company said in a pithy statement.
The 30-year-old did not seem too bothered by the news, taking to Twitter again to express his views.
“Anyone who has even spent their hard-earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected,” he wrote. “it’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.”
Nike and Kyrie have been working together since he entered the league in 2011 as one of the most exciting prospects. Just three years later he got his own signature shoe line from the company, a big achievement in American sports.
Nike even stood by him throughout his controversial career before.
This year he refused to get mandatory vaccination against Covid which made him ineligible for home games in the state of New York. He returned after missing a huge chunk of the season before his team was eliminated in the playoffs.
But his latest move proved too much even for them to stay silent on.
Nike suspended Irving in early November and despite him returning to play on November 20th after apologising “to those who felt threatened or hurt when he posted a link” the company has decided to look for endorsements elsewhere.