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Kyrie Irving took the floor against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night wearing a unique pair of shoes. In his first game since being dropped from Nike, the Brooklyn Nets guard decided to tape over the Nike swoosh on his signature shoe and write a message across the tape.
Nike officially terminated its contract with Irving on December 5, one month after the company suspended him after he tweeted a link to an antisemitic film. Irving had been a Nike athlete for 13 years prior to the recent split.
The 30-year-old putting tape over his shoes and writing a message about the situation was his response.
On one shoe, Irving wrote “I AM FREE Thank You God…I Am” over the Nike swoosh.
On the other shoe, he wrote “Logo Here” in an attempt to draw more attention that he had, in fact, taped over the Nike logo.
While Irving was able to get his message across, him taking the court in a shoe from any other brand than Nike could have perhaps sent an even bolder message. Irving has been playing in his own signature shoe for years now, however, so he’s certainly most comfortable in them on the court.
Irving probably wasn’t looking to give another shoe company – one that wasn’t paying him – any free publicity either, so taping over the Nike swoosh may have been the only option he considered.
It will be interesting to see if another major shoe brand signs Irving to a deal or if they all stay away after his most recent controversy.