Bloomberg — (Bloomberg) - Kyrie Irving had some strong criticism for the latest version of his own shoe line with Nike Inc., highlighting the disconnect that can occur between star athletes and the brands they endorse.
“I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8,” Irving wrote through his verified Instagram account. “These are trash! I have absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my okay, regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance.”
A representative for Nike didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
What were described as leaked photos of the kicks in question went up Wednesday on the sneaker-fan Instagram account to which Irving responded. The sneakers, in black and silver and adorned with the Nike swoosh, were presented by the Instagram user as the newest iteration of Irving’s signature shoe line.
Now a seven-time NBA all-star playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Irving signed with Nike in 2011 after the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him with the first pick in the league’s draft. Nike has sold many versions of Kyrie-branded shoes since they debuted in 2014.
Last year, Nike Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe called out the previous Irving design, the Kyrie 7, as a top performer on a conference call with analysts shortly after it hit store shelves in 2020.
“This quarter’s launches in basketball, including the LeBron 18 and the Kyrie 7, have sold incredibly well,” Donahoe said in December.