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Nike officially concludes agreement with NBA star Kyrie Irving

Nike and the point guard have been working on a signature shoe series since 2014.

Nike, the world’s largest sportswear company, has terminated its sponsorship agreement with the NBA star Kyrie Irving, a month after he spread anti-semitic content on social media.

The endorsement and signature shoe arrangement was temporarily halted in November after Irving tweeted a link to a docudrama that included Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories encompassing Jews. After initially refusing to condemn the film, the Brooklyn Nets guard, who was suspended for eight games by the team, eventually apologized for his actions.

A Nike spokesperson has since stated that the company has ended its relationship with Irving. It had previously been speculated that the sportswear company was highly improbable to renew the 30-year-old’s signature shoe deal beyond the current season.

Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, said, “We have mutually decided to part ways and wish Nike the best in their future endeavours.”

While Irving is yet to comment on the contract’s cancellation, he did post a video on Twitter that appeared to correspond to the dissolved contract. The caption for the video reads, ‘There’s nothing more priceless than being free.’

Nike and the point guard have been working on a signature shoe series since 2014, with Forbes predicting the agreement to be worth US$11 million per year. The newest branded shoe in the series, dubbed the ‘Kyrie 8,’ was scheduled to unveil in November but was cancelled as a result of the company concluding Irving’s contract.

Phil Knight, the brand’s Co-Founder and Chairman, said, “Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple, so he made some statements that we just can’t abide by, and that’s why we ended the relationship. And yeah, I was fine with that.

“We look at who we sign and how much we pay, and we look at not only how good the athlete is, but how his or her character [is], so it’s not an exact science, but it’s a process that we go through with a lot of intensity, with a lot of people sticking their hand in it, and that’s one that goes all the way to the CEO because some of the numbers (athletes) are paid are pretty big.”

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