Two days after Nike announced Kyrie Irving was no longer backed by the brand, the NBA star hit the Barclays Center court in Brooklyn, N.Y. with a message written on his sneakers.
The Brooklyn Nets baller, during the team’s 122-116 win last night over the Charlotte Hornets, had the Nike Kyrie 3 “Raygun” in black laced up with black tape covering the Swoosh branding. On the tape, Irving had “Logo Here” written on the left shoe and both “I Am Free” and “Thank You God … I Am” on the right.
On Monday, in an email to FN, the athletic powerhouse stated Irving is no longer a Nike athlete. The news was first reported on Twitter by Shams Charania, senior lead NBA insider for The Athletic and Stadium.
The parting of ways comes a month after Nike revealed it had suspended its relationship with Irving and stated it would not launch his Kyrie 8 signature shoe.
The moves stemmed from the public backlash Irving faced after posting a link to the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America” on his social media. He repeatedly refused to denounce antisemitism in the days following the post, and only apologized after he was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for at least five games.
“While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions,” Irving wrote in November via Instagram. “I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.”
It continued, “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti-semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate.”