With identical ends in sharp contrast to each other’s preceding means, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and multinational corporation Nike both stand today unapologetic of their present landing points. While Nike serves as the common denominator backing some of the sporting world’s biggest names, Irving’s success has been constantly bootstrapped to Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Choosing to establish himself as the singular solution on the proving grounds of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Nike, in a seemingly obligatory move has issued a subtle reminder that it still sits atop the sporting world.
The goal of every athlete should be to win, win, win and win some more, so Kyrie Irving’s decision to move on from a team that has appeared in the past three NBA finals, coming out on top in 2016, was as perplexing of a decision as any. Perplexing however to pretty much every onlooker other than basketball players in their prime. Lauded for his competitive mindset by his peers outside of Ohio, Irving was accused of chasing vanity by all others.
Claiming to be impressed by the Celtics’ presentation of long and short term goals, whether he’ll admit to it or not, Irving covertly in the same breath was delirious of the Cavaliers long and short term plans of “Lebron”. While the Cavaliers will eventually have to move on from James, Irving wanted no part of the potential patch work strategy suggested to be awaiting him in a few short years. Ultimately his decision to leave will be judged at his career’s end rather than the ambiguous definitions of what a competitor truly is.
With the ESPN basketball power index and many other outlet placing this year’s Celtics as the favorites to reach the NBA final’s, the expectations aren’t as far fetched as the more casual basketball fans would think. Wanting to embrace the full aspects of the point guard position, Irving will likely average similar statistics to his time in Cleveland, but more so in a conventional rather than improvised fashion. Adding all-star forward Gordon Hayward along with a few other pieces to compliment the remaining players, this team will be one of the more versatile teams in the league.
Ironically as Irving plays to issue a notice to his doubters this season, the swoosh symbol sitting atop the upper right of his jersey will be serving a calm reminder of the most valued sports brand who is moving it’s influence onto the NBA’s uniform’s this season. Aligned with the NBA since 1992, with the ever popular Air Jordan brand as it’s subsidiary and with names like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Derek Jeter, and Kobe Bryant, the brand has been on the tongues of athletes worldwide for quite some time, and only seemed like a natural choice of the NBA’s next uniform sponsor. Unlike sponsors in the past, this year’s uniform will display it’s sponsor’s logo, which in most cases has been steadily seen all throughout basketball crowds, but now will be visible on the court as well.
“It makes sense for Nike to be taking over the uniforms and our apparel in the league,” Irving told guests at a recent Nike showcase. “Nike, I’ve been with them for the last eight years – since I was in high school – and to understand the performance base of what the uniforms entail, to see how it’s revolutionized apparel, and the sneakers, and everything that’s going on, there’s not a better brand out there that should have the NBA right now in their hands.”
Thankfully moving on from the tee shirt uniform concept adopted in the past two seasons, Nike believes to have revolutionized the new uniforms. Altering the waist line by 30 percent to reduce the weight of the shorts, while rolling back the seaming along the back of the jersey to allow a fuller range of motion, the players will still have to play the game, but hopefully without the urge to make or complain about alterations. Regardless the Boston Celtics along with the other 29 teams should make this as compelling of a season as ever.