Nike, Kyrie Irving part ways after antisemitism controversy

Irving returned to the court late last month

Nike and Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving reportedly parted ways following the point guard’s controversy around tweeting a movie that spreads antisemitic disinformation.

A Nike spokesperson told The Athletic the two sides parted ways, making the Nets player a sneaker free agent.

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Kyrie Irving with his teammates

Brooklyn Nets forwards Kevin Durant, left, and Joe Harris on the court with guard Kyrie Irving, right, during the Washington Wizards game, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo / AP Newsroom)

A Nike spokesperson later confirmed the news to Fox Business.

"Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete," the spokesperson said.

Nike suspended its relationship with Irving last month and put a halt on the release of the Kyrie 8s. Irving’s sneakers were reportedly a top-five seller for Nike. It’s unclear whether the controversy surrounding the Brooklyn superstar would deter another company from signing him.

Irving was suspended for at least five games days after the firestorm over the tweet. He returned Nov. 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies and admitted an apology should’ve come sooner.

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Kyrie Irving drives to the hoop

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving dribbles against Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh / AP Newsroom)

"I don’t stand for anything close to hate speech, or antisemitism, or anything that is anti going against the human race," Irving said via ESPN. "I feel like we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us. And I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions because there was a way I should have handled all of this."

Irving didn’t initially have the right response to the issue in the Nets’ eyes, as he didn’t publicly apologize the first time he had the chance with the media. But after going through the six-step program the Nets gave him before he could return, he knows he should have gone about things differently.

Kyrie Irving complains

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving gestures during the Toronto Raptors game on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / AP Newsroom)

"It should have been on the first day that I was dealing with all this of just being there for all those that felt like this was antisemitic," Irving said. "And I should have clarified that I am not antisemitic and I am not anti-anything when it comes to the way I live my life. So the learning lesson for me was just the power of my platform and the impact that it can cause if it's not taken care of the right way. So meeting with different people within the Jewish community has offered me some clarity on a deeper understanding of what's going on and the impact that was made and the hurt that was caused."

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Nets team owner Joe Tsai insisted Irving wasn’t antisemitic ahead of his return.