I might be reading into this too much, but did Kyrie Irving writing “I’M FREE” on his taped-over Nike sneakers feel slightly like Ye going on TikTok and declaring himself free? A 3-year-old could connect those dots, considering each knucklehead’s history of antisemitic views that subsequently got them dropped from lucrative apparel contracts.
Kanye West’s influence reaches a lot of young men in general, and ditto for Kyrie, who had one of Nike’s most popular shoes until he opted to tweet out some nonsensical, glorified YouTube production that you’d see John Stockton retweeting. Irving didn’t apologize until he had to, and by that time it was too late. The guy is fresh off a suspension, and West is fresh off an appearance on InfoWars blaming the Jews for everything and wearing a stocking over his face.
Here’s Irving’s duct-taped fiasco from Wednesday night’s home game against the Hornets. I mean, you can still see the outline of the Nike logo on the side that says “Logo here.”
Writing “I AM FREE. Thank you God … I am” on your shoes because you’re out millions is one way to look at things, and clearly that’s how Irving is rationalizing it. It’s also the same way Ye approached getting excommunicated from Adidas.
Great minds don’t think alike because if they did, we’d all still think the world was flat. But the minds of conspiracy theorists and zealots do. That’s why debunked stereotypes and COVID still persist and people like Kyrie and Kanye can openly share and say antisemitic shit without getting fully jettisoned from popular culture.
Of course, Irving doesn’t think getting dumped from Nike is a bad thing. He probably Googled “Why is Nike bad?” to make himself feel better, and then saw Ye telling society “Gotcha!” like he wanted to get canceled, and thought, “This is perfect, I do feel better.”
Even if that’s not what happened, and Irving came up with this solution on his own, he has to know people are going to make comparisons. The Venn diagram of NBA and hip-hop is pretty big, and Kanye and Irving literally spouted Nazi tropes within a week of each other. I wrote about it at the time, and now once the last thread of the Irving-Nike partnership is officially clipped, he more or less parrots Kanye again? Either Irving is trolling us, knowing we’ll make the Ye connection, or he’s trolling us for real like Kanye. It’s one or the other, and both are equally stupid.
Once you get outed for the abhorrent human being that you are — which is the definition of canceling — you can say whatever the fuck you want as long as people give you a platform. Ye has to resort to Alex Jones and TikTok, and Irving is in NBA arenas, showing that he’s learned all the wrong things.
Kyrie clearly got his suspension summer reading from the Donda Academy. I know it’s since been shuttered, but Ye is still holding classes, and his pupils are still watching.