New Balance Shuts Down Rumors It Is Courting Kyrie Irving

The sports world has been busy speculating this month about Kyrie Irving’s next brand partner, ever since his longtime sponsor Nike cut ties in early December over the NBA star’s antisemitic social media posts.

Rumors have been swirling that multiple athletic brands are interested in signing Irving. Specifically, Bally Sports reported this week that major names such as Adidas, Puma and New Balance are in the mix, as well as independent labels including SIA.

But New Balance says this is one competition it isn’t engaging in.

In a statement sent to FN today, the Boston-based company said: “New Balance is not pursuing partnership opportunities with Kyrie Irving.”

FN has reached out to Adidas and Puma for comment as well.

Nike parted ways with Irving on Dec. 5, a month after the athletic giant revealed it had suspended its relationship with him 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.

In a statement released Nov. 4, the sportswear company said, “At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

The dustup between Nike and Irving came just 10 days after Adidas ended its partnership deal with the Yeezy brand over founder Kanye “Ye” West’s repeated antisemitic comments.

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