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Nike co-founder Phil Knight says relationship with Brooklyn Nets star is likely finished for good

Phil Knight says he's fine with Nike's relationship with Kyrie Irving ending
Kyrie Irving & Phil Knight

Phil Knight & Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving's recent missteps will cause him to miss at least five NBA games. Because the suspension is without pay, the Brooklyn Nets star stands to lose $250,000 for every game he is suspended. Another sanction that will have a massive hit on his wallet is Nike's decision to sever ties. And apparently, the giant shoe company is not keen on renewing its relationship with the controversial point guard, according to its co-founder.

"I would doubt that we go back," Phil Knight told CNBC. "But I don't know for sure."

Point of no return

When Nike announced that it was suspending its relationship with Irving, it also affected the original plans to release his signature shoe this year.

The former NBA champion had been one of the company's most popular endorsers since 2011. Together, they had released a signature shoe line yearly since 2014.

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Some might have thought the relationship with Nike could still be repaired sometime after Irving gets reinstated from his suspension. But as Knight mentioned, it's in the organization's best interest to move on completely from the seven-time All-Star.

"Kyrie stepped over the line," Knight said. "It's kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can't abide by and that's why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that."

Perhaps the latest drama was the straw that broke the camel's back for Nike. Earlier this year, there were reports that they were set to part ways if Irving's vaccination status would continue to affect his availability for NBA games.

Will Kyrie still attract interest?

If the former No. 1 pick had indeed split up from Nike at the time, other companies would have probably lined up to court him. Even LaVar Ball invited Irving to join Big Baller Brand, telling him he could have all the control he wanted.

However, given the circumstances surrounding Irving's exit from Nike, offers might be few and far between this time around.

Can KAI climb out of the hole he dug for himself? Perhaps. But given his track record, it might be unwise to bet on it.

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