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Kyrie Irving: Signature Worthy?

May 15, 2012 BY / 25

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Cleveland rookie point guard Kyrie Irving has just been awarded the 2012 NBA Rookie Of The Year award, joining a lineage of superstars-in-the-making that are destined for success at the highest level of competition. In just 30 minutes a game, Kyrie displayed a scoring prowess at the position matched by those who are considered ‘elite’ point guards, all while developing into an NBA-level playmaker by averaging 5.4 assists and pulling down 3.7 rebounds a night. Needless to say, Cleveland is 2-for-2 with their #1 overall picks in the last decade and the doubts sparked by the ‘Duke curse’ have largely been put the bed, but discussions haven’t ceased because the matter of Kyrie’s commercial starpower is still under the microscope. We know he’s an official Nike athlete as he’s worn a Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 PE throughout the season, but is he worthy of being the next Nike signature athlete?

Today’s basketball sneaker scene is dominated by signature sneakers. Period. LeBrons continue to set the pace for Nike Basketball, the Zoom Kobe series enjoys utter dominance in both Asia and the U.S. and the Zoom KD line has sprouted immensely after a slow and steady process of cultivation through the first three signature models. The Hyperdunk 2011, despite being a top-tier high-performance shoe, gained much of its notoriety in the sneaker scene thanks to the exploits of Blake Griffin, who viciously dunked his way into stardom by the middle of his rookie season. It’s quite clear that a big name plays an integral role in driving a sneaker’s success, and with the youngest Nike sig reaching a fifth volume later this year, it’s time to bring in some new blood. Whether or not Kyrie Irving is not only worthy, but capable of carrying such a prestigious accolade comes into question, so we’ll break it down because the answer, quite simply, is not clear.

Historically, guards and guard/forwards have been far more effective as marketing tools than big-men; take for example Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, both Championship winners and former MVPs who have ‘failed’ as Nike pitchmen because their ‘games’ aren’t relatable to the everyday consumer. Kyrie Irving’s numbers, style of play, and upside prove that he’s an eventual elite player and potential marketing goldmine, and his MVP performance during the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge proved that he can perform at a high level on the brightest stages. Seems like Kyrie is a no-brainer to step up into the sig-shoe developmental league, but the tragic stories of Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams must be considered; both are bonafide ‘elite’-level point guards, having displayed consistent excellence in All-Star and Playoff platforms, but are mired in the Nike PE purgatory without a signature shoe in sight. If a signature shoe was a reward for performance, we’d see a Zoom Rondo or Air Flight D-Will on store shelves, but a lot more goes into the decision. Penny Hardaway, who enjoyed a span of three great seasons and fell down from the ‘elite’ stage due to injury, continues to be one of Nike’s most successful signature lines today because he was teeming with market potential and success; he’s getting another signature shoe this Holiday, and he hasn’t been an All-Star in fourteen years!

The argument can continue on and on, but we’ve laid out the basic for-and-against for Kyrie’s success and potential as a signature Nike athlete. It seems like fellas like Rondo and Blake should be next in line to receive such an honor, but given the history of Nike big-men (remember a similar Amare Stoudemire had a sub-par signature line in his PHX days) and the passing of the ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ moment in Rondo’s case, we could be rocking Irvings a few years down the road. He’s a great talent with a likeable personality (it’s been noted that he gifted his ROY Kia to his AAU coach), and based on Durant’s rise in Oklahoma City and LeBron’s previous success in Cleveland, it seems like given the right superstar, the ‘big market’ myth is just that – a myth. Your thoughts on this discussion? What do you think truly makes a Nike signature athlete, and do you think Kyrie Irving fits the criteria?

 


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25 comments
kha_boogie
kha_boogie

He is a good player but idt he'll get sigs until he is NBA seasoned b/c alot of other ppl who dnt have sigs deserve them before him, also nike wudnt put another guard shoe out they have cp3 and from what ppl are wearin on the court to me they havent sold well and cp3 is obviously bigger than kyrie so if they must put out a new sig i think it wud be a big man b/c they dnt have a pure center or pf shoe

fenway1312
fenway1312

Cavs basketball never stops. . . until the playoffs start

newsouth912
newsouth912

Kyrie Irving signature? There are plenty more players that deserve a signature 1st. He had a decent season by even rookie standards. D.Will, Blake, Rondo, Westbrook, Amare (again), Love, Steve Nash, Chris Bosh, Deng, and the list goes on. Not saying he won't be good or even great but really, how many people would even buy his shoe? He doesn't get the exposure necessary to be "signature" athlete

@RCH89
@RCH89

I may be one of the few to admit they are still Cavs fans, but I would rock some Kyrie's.

Get Paper
Get Paper

Kyrie Irving is 100 percent worthy of a Nike signature line. He is arguably already a top 10 point guard in the NBA. He is very marketable and only 20 years old. So he is young, a good kid/role model and is a beast on the court. The three things required to command a line. Period.

kmtb31@gmail.com
kmtb31@gmail.com

As a sneakerhead what would you say when we all look down at someone else's feet??? Hey, are those the Kyrie Irving's? O, he got the irving 5's on... Are those irvings limited... I mean i wasnt first in line for the 1st KD's either... But now look.. Also all it will take is media to market them, and a few tight ass performences.

Markease
Markease

Kyrie does not deserve a signature shoe, there are so many other stars that need one first: Westbrook, Blake, Deron Williams, Keving Love and Lamarcus Alderidge all deserve looks before someone that may not even end up a bieng a superstar.

DominicD3
DominicD3

i thought blake griffin would be next in line for a signature model

Timothy Sou
Timothy Sou

i would LOVE to see a pair of Zoom Rondo.....

bdogg
bdogg

great rookie year for kyrie for playing with no one..that said he should get some pe's first...i think westbrook should get a sig first....he kinda "earned" it...not hating but fair is fair...everyone should not have a sig shoe!

Voodoo Chile
Voodoo Chile

the last time nike gave a signature shoe a guy from cleveland left and took his talents to south beach, hmmm.....

Daniel M
Daniel M

No one thought MJ should have gotten a nike contract back in the day and he was still in college and look how that turned out. Not saying Kyrie is the next Jordan, but give him a chance. Ya never know

That Guy
That Guy

I think its worth it because it could be a good investment

goon
goon

cavs basketball clearly does stop

Jay
Jay

I'm from here And no is my answer shouldn't even got rookie of the year two years and we'll trade him off for sum shitty draft picks and continue the legacy of the mistake on the lake ain't no breaking the curse accept and move on

MVP
MVP

Did not read anything that said...

R.O.Y NOT
R.O.Y NOT

Not hating on the KID but this has to be the weakest Rookie Class ever I don't think any of the players should of been R.O.Y...Just my thoughts.

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