Which sneaker company will Kyrie Irving sign with after Nike?

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The past few years have been tumultuous for Kyrie Irving. The 30-year-old bounced between teams, lost a mentor in Kobe Bryant and missed a lot of time during the 2021-22 NBA season after failing to comply with vaccination mandates.

To make matters worse, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, Nike is unlikely to extend Irving’s signature shoe deal beyond next season. So if Irving’s deal with Nike expires, what are his options?

Nike

Kyrie Irving wears the Nike Kyrie 7 during the 2021-22 NBA season.

Let’s start by saying that Nike has yet to make a final decision regarding Kyrie Irving’s signature sneaker deal – or at least they haven’t released that decision to the public yet.

Thus, we can always hope that cool heads will prevail and both sides can overcome the situation. Nike launched Irving’s signature sneaker line in 2014, and it easily became one of the most popular collections in company history.

However, the beginning of the end dates back to last July. An Instagram account posted a photo of Irving’s 8th signature sneaker, and Irving wrote, “Have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming Kyrie 8, IMO this is rubbish!” I have absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my permission no matter what I say, so I apologize in advance to all my sneaker makers and true KAI11 brand supporters.

The Nike Kyrie 8 will be released as the Nike Kyrie Infinity, and Irving will wear them throughout the season. Maybe a similar situation could happen again. Irving could stay with Nike while his signing line wraps up. There is strong speculation that the Kyrie line will be replaced with a new line for Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

It wouldn’t be the first time something like this had happened. Look at Carmelo Anthony and Jordan Brand. Speaking of Jumpman, a move from Nike to Jordan Brand seems highly unlikely.

Adidas

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young wears Adidas Trae Young 1 'Sunset' sneakers against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 7, 2022.

Trae Young wears the Adidas Trae Young 1.

Adidas doesn’t seem like a natural choice for Kyrie Irving. The German company already has five iconic sneaker lines – James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young.

Their five signature basketball lines are owned by guards. Three of the five are already over 30 years old. Adding Irving to their roster would be doubling down instead of diversifying.

under protection

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry wears the Curry 9 'Warp The Game Day'.

Stephen Curry wearing the Curry Flow 9.

Under Armor lacks credibility on the street for most hoopers. Some fans perceive the American company as a football or baseball sportswear brand. Their basketball shoes have gone viral for the wrong reasons on more than one occasion.

However, that might make the pairing a perfect fit. Under Armor has two iconic athletes – Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry. And the latter recently created his own sub-label, The Curry Brand.

Under Armor would benefit from Irving’s popularity and hiding among basketball fans. The company’s technology is perfectly fine; they just need an infusion of hype from someone.

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Puma

Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball wears his signature sneaker - the Puma MB.01.

LaMelo Ball wears the Puma MB.01.

Since returning to the performance basketball shoe market in 2018, Puma has made all the right choices. They have assembled a cast of exciting players, headlined by a signature athlete – LaMelo Ball.

Besides Ball, the company has a long history with NBA legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier. Jay-Z is Puma’s creative director, which never hurts in a pitch meeting. If Kyrie Irving brought his talents to Puma, it could propel the German company ahead of some of its competitors.

Anta, Li-Ning, Peak and others

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson wears the Anta KT7 during the 2022 NBA Finals.

Klay Thompson wears the Anta KT7.

Kyrie Irving always thinks big. He could reshape the sneaker landscape by signing a sneaker deal with a Chinese company like Anta, Li-Ning or Peak. The three sportswear brands already have a foothold in the NBA with several star players.

Like any other brands, these companies make reputable sneakers with good technology and have a strong global presence. Landing Irving would be the biggest win in their company’s history.

Something different

Dallas Mavericks forward Spencer Dinwiddie wears the K8iro sneakers.

Spencer Dinwiddie wears the K8iro.

Kyrie Irving could still start his own sneaker business. Other NBA players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Langston Galloway successfully created their own line of sneakers.

There was even a rumor that Kobe Bryant thought about starting his own sneaker company after his contract expired in 2020. Unfortunately, we will never know the full story behind this rumor. This option seems just as plausible as any of the other moves Irving could make.

Free Sneaker Agency

Kyrie Irving wears Nike Dunks and Jaylen Brown wears Yeezys when hanging out with Kanye West.

Boston Celtics goaltender Jaylen Brown wears the Nike Kobe 6 Protro.

Speaking of Kobe Bryant, it’s not inconceivable that Kyrie Irving won’t sign another sneaker contract. The Los Angeles Lakers legend drove sneakerheads crazy during the 2002-03 NBA season when he wore a range of different brands.

Bryant isn’t the only player to have taken this route. The NBA is littered with players who wear all the shoes they want every night. A notable example is Boston Celtics goaltender Jaylen Brown.


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