Kyrie Andrew Irving is a professional athlete in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Currently a guard on the Brooklyn Nets, the 29-year-old has a signature sneaker line with North American conglomerate, NIKE, Inc.
Born on March 23rd, 1992 in Melbourne, Australia, Irving entered the NBA as the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft after only playing 11 games with the Duke University Blue Devils. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, which he stayed with for six seasons before leaving to the Boston Celtics in 2017. A year prior, the 6′2 guard helped secure a historic victory in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, winning his first NBA ring alongside LeBron James.
Having quickly cemented himself as one of the most exciting players to watch upon entering the League, Irving received his first signature sneaker–the Nike Kyrie 1–on December 24th, 2014. Spearheaded by Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director Leo Chang, the sneaker featured a mid-top trim and consisted of a composite textile cover atop a mesh base. The model’s inaugural colorway comprised of an eye-catching “Black/White/Bright Crimson/Anthracite” palette, and was dubbed “Dream” as a nod to Irving finally actualizing his aspirations to play in the NBA. Zoom Air-cushioning made its way into the design, and has become a staple of Irving’s signature sneaker line. Since 2014, seven models have released under the Nike Kyrie banner, with the latest aptly named the Nike Kyrie Infinity. All mainline options from Irving’s signature collection have maintained a similar shape, with some propositions introducing a mid-foot lockdown strap or other overlays. The Nike Kyrie Low and Nike Flytrap series, however, have added diversity to the one-time NBA Champion’s footwear roster, boasting different materials and design details.
Irving has incorporated his personal interests into his line of sneakers, partnering with Boston’s Concepts for Nike SB and Egyptian-inspired styles; Nickelodeon for a “SpongeBob SquarePants” collection; and the Swoosh for nods to Kobe Bryant‘s influential Nike Kobe collection. Furthermore, Irving has utilized his Nike partnership to honor Native American communities across the U.S. via the Nike N7 initiative, as well as shining light on WNBA athletes the likes of Sue Bird under the “#KeepSueFresh” series of shoes.
In 2019, Kyrie Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets as point guard. Throughout the 2020-21 NBA season, however, the New Jerseyite has focused on scoring, allowing teammate James Harden to “run the floor.” With a roster also including Kevin Durant, Joe Harris and Blake Griffin, Irving was well on his way to win his second NBA ring, but he ended up playing just 54 games due to an assortment of reasons. Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Irving made headlines for his refusal of the COVID-19 vaccination, which has impeded him to play with his Nets squad. The release schedule for the Nike Kyrie 8 – officially the Nike Kyrie 8 – however, seemingly hasn’t been impacted by the guard’s decision to stay off the hardwood.
In December of 2022, Kyrie Irving and Nike’s partnership suddenly came to an end a month after putting their relationship with the then Nets guard on suspension. Irving’s relationship with The Swoosh, however, had already been up in the air as the two had not yet agreed upon a new contract extension after his original deal was set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 season. After Irving posted a link to a film with anti-semitic views in early November, the aforementioned decision was fast tracked with the brand announcing that the Kyrie 8 shoe would be pulled from store shelves and online product pages. All future marketing efforts surrounding the pair were nixed as well.
After spending a year and a half in “sneaker free agency”, Irving inked an industry-shifting five-year deal with Chinese brand ANTA. Irving’s newly-formed partnership also included the title of Chief Creative Officer for ANTA Basketball, allowing the now Dallas Mavericks point guard the ability to sign other athletes, artists and catalysts. While his debut signature shoe with ANTA has yet to be revealed, Irving will be suiting up throughout the 2023-24 season in the ANTA Shockwave Pro 5.