Nike Cuts Ties with Irving, As Anticipation Builds For a Ja Morant Shoe

  • Nike ended Monday’s relationship with Kyrie Irving.
  • Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies’ star, is expected to get the next Nike Signature shoe.
  • Chris Burns, sneaker analyst, predicts that the Morant sneaker is a success.

Ja Morant is a well-known name show-stopping highlight-reel dunks. He may soon be seen in a pair sneakers with his name on it at SportsCenter.

After Nike’s business relationship with Kyrie Irving ended, there is anticipation that the Memphis Grizzlies star would be the next Nike athlete to get a special shoe. 

“It’s happening,” said Chris Burns, a Memphis-based sneaker analyst. “When his signature shoe starts to sell, it has the potential of being what Kyrie’s first three years was.”

Although Nike has not confirmed that Morant will be getting a signature shoe for Nike, the NBA reporter did confirm. Shams Charania on Monday tweetedThat one is to be expected, and the “parties” have been working on it for several months. 


Sole Retriever first reportedSeptember: The Morant shoe 

The new shoe is expected by Nike, who wants to build on the success of its GT Cut basketball shoes and remain the dominant force in basketball while competitors Adidas, Puma, Under Armour and Under Armour try to gain market share. 

Adidas recently appointed Bjorn Gulden CEO. He was previously chief executive at Puma where he enjoyed success. building the company’s basketball division

The tweet by Charania came after Nike officially ended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Irving.

Nike previously suspended its relationship with IrvingAfter he posted a link on Twitter to an antisemitic movie. He subsequently removed the post and apologized

Although Nike did not immediately reply to Insider’s questions about plans for a Morant-inspired shoe, his unique style of play would increase the company’s roster basketball endorsers, which already includes stars like LeBron James or Kevin Durant.  

Morant was described by Burns as “he’s future”. 

Signature shoes can come with risks. There are the costs involved, the possibility of injury for the endorser, the cost of creating high-performance sneakers from scratch and the potential corporate embarrassment if the star is not being on the right side of the law.

Ian Parkman, University of Portland marketing professor, wrote to Insider that Morant is a top player. However, there is a feeling among some that endorsement deals are losing some of their luster due to the wide range of images of athletes appearing across social media. 

He stated that brands are increasingly wary about endorsements by athletes. “The media world that we live in makes controlling the conversations about the brands they create with athletes much more difficult.” Ja Morant is an excellent player, but brands don’t have the same ability to leverage him like they used to.

Wedbush Securities analyst Tom Nikic told Insider Morant is a “rising superstar” and “there’s a gap in the assortment” now that Irving is no longer with Nike, but he also noted, “signature basketball is not nearly as big a part of Nike’s business as it used to be.”

Burns pointed out that Nike basketball is on a rise and Morant has an excellent reputation. 

Nike no longer reports on the financial performance of its basketball business division on financial statements. However, in fiscal 2021, Nike reported an annual increase of 12% to $1.7 Billion. 

The brand’s most recent fiscal year ended May 31, 2022. Nike’s Jordan brand, which makes performance basketball products, reported a 7% sales growth to $5.1 billion. This was more than the brand’s 4% top line growth. 

Andy Campion, Nike Chief Financial Officer, stated on a June 2022 earnings conference that the GT Cut, a more general-release sneaker, is No. Performance basketball’s No. 1 product.

The shoe is nearly sold out on Nike’s websiteThis indicates a strong demand in basketball shoes, and the potential for a new signature shoe. 

Burns stated that Nike basketball has rebounded, citing the success of the GT Cut. “Sales have improved significantly over the past two years,” Burns said.

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