In its 42-year history, Nike only bestowed just over 30 professional athletes (19 of them basketball players) out of the thousands they sponsored, with their very own signature editions. If you worked out the statistics behind the numbers, that is less than 1% out of all the athletes Nike endorsed, making it one of the most exclusive if not prestige “sports club” out there. Now, add one more to that roster as Kyrie Irving, Point Guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, officially joins Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant as Nike Basketball unveiled his very first signature sneaker, the Nike KYRIE 1
Flanked by former Point Guard now basketball analyst Kenny Smith, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and “Sir Charles” Barkley at a live New York City event yesterday evening, Irving recalled the moment when Nike executives mentioned about his very own signature edition and how the design team worked to have details of his personal life be represented in the footwear, including a tribute to his late mother. He also thanked members of the audience, which included fellow teammates LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and his father Drederick for their unwavering support...
Release Date: 12/23/2014 (Tuesday)
Nike Welcomes Kyrie Irving to its Esteemed Signature Athlete Family
The KYRIE 1 is designed to the performance demands of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Nike’s 42-year legacy of signature athletes bolstered itself today with the addition of its newest member, Kyrie Irving, and his first shoe, the KYRIE 1. The honor bestowed on Irving is something that he earned through the hungry yet humble approach he brings to competing at basketball’s highest level.
“As a kid, imagining that I’d be in the Nike family with my own shoe was something that seemed almost unattainable,” said Irving. “Now that I’ve received the KYRIE 1 I’m honored to represent Nike and its next generation of players.”
The Australian-born 2012 Rookie of the Year is also a two-time All-Star (2013, 2014), and was most recently the MVP of the 2014 FIBA World Cup — solid indications that the future is bright for Nike’s newest signature athlete.
INNOVATION MEETS INSPIRATION
When designer Leo Chang and team began the design process of the KYRIE 1, the goal was to build a shoe to match Irving’s tremendous speed and quickness. The KYRIE 1 needed to be light, bold and responsive with the best traction Nike Basketball could develop for Irving’s prolific first step.
After months of meticulous testing and feedback, the KYRIE 1 was created to deliver three primary benefits:
Pinpoint responsiveness with Nike Zoom Air cushioning in the forefoot
Dynamic grip with a 360-degree dynamic traction pattern wrapping the shoe’s sidewalls
Ultra support and breathability with Hyperfuse construction for lockdown stability
Irving joins Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James on Nike’s current roster of signature basketball athletes. His first signature shoe, the KYRIE 1, lives up to the expectations of performance and storytelling set by previous signature kicks:
The new Kyrie Irving logo on the shoe’s tongue represents his inner strength and hunger to learn
Hand-written details in Irving’s penmanship: #2 on the upper heel along with his personal signature on the inside of the tongue
Jagged pattern on the wrapped traction near the toe and heel counter with architectural angles are both inspired by the Sydney Opera House in Irving’s homeland of Australia
The acronym “JBY” that sits beneath Irving’s new logo on the outsole stands for “Just Be You,” a motto that Irving hopes inspires kids as they establish their own, unique identities
Each of these distinctions appear on all KYRIE 1 colorways. Individual stories come to life on each colorway beginning with the KYRIE 1 Dream. Irving often dreamt of waking up on Christmas morning and lacing up for a game professionally – a dream that will come true when Cleveland plays in Miami on Christmas day. The black-based shoe features geometric, colorful objects specific to Irving’s life journey, including stars from the Australian flag, a skateboard, his jersey number and a brass musical instrument.
The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red is the global lead colorway; it takes inspiration from Irving’s phenomenal quickness and accelerated first step.
The bar is set high for Irving based on his family pedigree, international experiences, thirst for knowledge and reluctance to fail. Irving’s role model remains his father Drederick, once a professional basketball star in Australia, who demonstrated great character as a single father raising three kids.
“My family means everything to me,” said Irving. “My father led by example and taught me how to become a stand-up man both on and off the court. You get what you give, and I’ll never take life or any opportunity for granted.”
Irving will remain a hungry and humble leader focused on guiding Cleveland to a championship and representing Nike with distinction.
The KYRIE 1 is currently available for customization on NIKEiD, the KYRIE 1 Dream colorway will be available in North America on Dec. 23 in adult and kids sizes at nike.com and select retail destinations. The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red colorway is available globally on Jan. 10, 2015. Along with the shoe, special KYRIE 1 T-shirts, hats and socks will also be available.