Kanye West with a jump shot, better known as Kyrie Irving, has officially been dropped by Nike nearly a month after he was suspended from the popular sports apparel company, according to The Athletic.
On the other hand, Irving doesn’t seem to be pressed about it, since shortly after the news was reported, he posted a gif on Twitter of someone saying, “There’s nothing more priceless than being free.”
In another tweet, he wrote, “Anyone who has even spent their hard-earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected. it’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.”
The star Brooklyn Nets guard is now a sneaker-free agent and can wear any shoes he wants from any brand if and when he signs with another sneaker brand.
Nike’s decision to cut ties with Irving comes from the All-Star deciding on Oct. 27 to post a link on Twitter to the documentary, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which contained a multitude of ant-Semitic tropes, including denying that the Holocaust ever happened.
Since then, Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games, ultimately missing eight and returned to play on Nov. 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies. During a suspension, he was required to complete a series of steps including, apologizing for the post linking to the movie, meeting with the NBA commissioner, Jewish leaders, and Nets owner Joe Tsai, making a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes and completing sensitivity and anti-Semitism training.
While Irving is now free to sign with any sneaker brand he wants to, I find it hard to believe that any major sneaker company (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Converse, Puma) has the guts to sign a figure as controversial as Kyrie.
While I call Irving “Kanye West With a Jump Shot,” he has never said anything as bad, hateful, or damaging as Ye has in the last couple of months. I don’t believe Irving is anti-Semitic, but on the other hand, the Chicago rapper is. However, for better or worse, Irving will forever be connected to the documentary he shared on Twitter two months ago, which will most likely result in him not getting any major endorsements for the foreseeable future.