Did Nike Really Have To Promote Kyrie Irving’s New ‘Friends’ Gear Right Now?


May 7, 2019

It hasn’t been Kyrie Irving’s day, his week, his month or even his year, but Nike is there for him — optics be damned.

The Celtics star is running out of time to save Boston’s season, which is on life support in large part because of his own performance. Irving shot 7-for-22 from the floor Monday night in the Celtics’ Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Green is now one loss from seeing its season end in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Irving is rightfully taking plenty of flak for his performance, especially after what he’s said this season, but at least he has a new sneaker and gear line on the way, as Nike revealed Tuesday morning — 12 hours after Boston fell to the Bucks. Nike unveiled Irving’s new line inspired by the TV show “Friends,” featuring a “Kyrie” shirt meant to mirror the show’s logo, as well as a “Central Perk” shirt paying homage to the fictional coffee shop from the show with Irving’s “KI” logo replacing the coffee cup steam.


But wait: It gets better! Irving also has a new version of his shoe coming out next week, the “Friends” version of his Kyrie 5 sneaker.

From the Nike.com description of the shoe: “While the relationships with his teammates on the court make him one of the best floor generals in the game today, it’s his friendships off the court that have kept Kyrie focused and grounded during his rise. Along with a few of his closest friends, Kyrie dons a “Friends” tattoo inspired by the logo of the hit sitcom show that serves as a daily reminder of loyalty and camaraderie. The Kyrie 5 x Friends colorway celebrates Kyrie’s tight-knit circle and the belief that real friendship will always withstand the test of time and hardship.”

Given all the reported locker room chemistry issues for the Celtics — who, we’ll remind you, are on life support — touting Irving’s friendships with “his teammates on the court” is questionable timing, to say the least. Then again, we’ve heard all year about Irving’s close friendship with Kevin Durant — who, like Irving, can become a free agent at season’s end — and how they could end up in New York. Surely, no one will connect the New York ties of “Friends” to Irving, Durant and their impending free agency … right?

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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