Kyrie Irving warned fans a few weeks ago that his upcoming shoes were going to be bad.
“I have nothing to do with the design or marketing of the upcoming #Kyrie8, IMO these are trash,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I have absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my okay regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance to all of my sneaker heads and true supporters of the #KAI11 brand.”
As it turns out, Irving was right. The shoes are awful.
Photos of them surfaced on Thursday, and they’re somehow even uglier than advertised.
After his initial rant, Irving tried to go back and smooth things over.
“When you’re building something great, there sometimes comes a point when you need to recalibrate and refocus to ensure everyone involved is aligned. This is where the KAI11 brand and Nike are,” Irving told Shams Charania. “It was unfair to put the blame on Nike or any one person. With that being said, we are diligently working, restructuring, and reimagining things together to make sure we get it right.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 10, 2021
Clearly he was just doing PR, though. Because his first take on the whole situation was right on the money. These shoes suck.
Obviously releasing ugly shoes isn’t some sort of unique thing in the NBA. Stephen Curry’s kicks are an absolute monstrosity. Same with Montrezl Harrell’s circus shoes. But Irving has a reputation for having a great brand, so this definitely comes as a surprise.