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Player Profile: Kyrie Irving

Since the fourth grade, Kyrie Irving dreamed of playing in the NBA and being a bigger star than his father, who played at Boston University and in Australia.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, where Irving’s father played professional basketball for the Bulleen Boomers, he has dual citizenship in the United States and Australia. When he was two, Irving’s family relocated to West Orange, New Jersey, and when he was four, his mother died from illness. Afterwards, Irving was raised by his father with help from his aunts.

He spent much of his childhood going to his dad’s adult-league games. While on a field trip in the fourth grade, he played in the Continental Airlines Arena, where he vowed to play in the NBA. After his high school career, Irving committed to Duke University where played for one year before entering the NBA Draft.

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Drafted first in the 2011 Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving has collected an impressive list of accomplishments including 2012 Rookie of the Year, three-time NBA All-Star, 2014 NBA All-Star MVP, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist. As of earlier the year, he joined the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James as an NBA Champion.

In conjunction with LeBron James, Kevin Love, and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving became an NBA Champion after a come from behind victory in the NBA finals. Conquering the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors earned Irving and his teammates a NBA Championship ring.

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On top of career success, Irving’s signature basketball shoes with Nike have done very well with fans of all ages. Kyrie Irving is known for his unstoppable drive to the hole, and his ankle-breaking maneuvers around the hardwood. And now, Nike is engineered a sneaker, the Kyrie 2, to utilize Irving’s angular momentum and abuse of the laws of physics.

Nike designer Leo Chang spearheaded the construction of the Kyrie 2, and analyzed Irving’s aggressive play style to come up with the perfect silhouette to accommodate Kyrie’s hard banking and cutting. Often launching at a 40-degree angle during a crossover dripple in less than one-third of a second, Kyrie needs a sneaker capable of enduring high levels of stress and pressure.

Nike introduced a curved midsole and outsole after observing Irving’s ability to angle his body low enough for the side of his sneakers to contact the floor. Engineered for maximum power output, the Kyrie 2 has exaggerated, curved midsole areas on the outside of the forefoot and inside of the heel. Designer Chang describes the curve as feeling like your body jumping off a ball, so he increased traction by having the outsole pattern creep up the midsole. This multi-directional pattern permits Irving to fly off the edges at intense angles and speeds to penetrate the defense.

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The key to Kyrie’s intense game is his acceleration and his ability to from full speed to a complete halt almost instantaneously. The Kyrie 2’s traction pattern and midfoot strap keep Irving from suffering at the hands of physics. When you stop as fast as Irving, your body tends to want to keep up the momentum, but Nike’s traction design and midfoot strap literally keep you in the shoes. Chang placed the strap over the top of the foot instead of around the ankle specifically to keep Irving grounded in the sneaker. The strap locks down and supports to the ankle, because when move at the speeds Irving does, you don’t want your foot sliding around in the shoe. This amount of acceleration requires a tight fit, or you are welcoming unknown variables into the equation which could lead to injury.

The Kyrie 2 is constructed with banking and cutting in mind, but the Hyperfuse upper makes this sneaker durable yet breathable. Nike incorporated molded channels in the upper to allow the shoe to flex with the foot. The unique pattern on the outsole is designed for lateral motion, and a circular pattern under the forefoot helps with pivoting. The Kyrie 2 has minimal cushioning in the forefoot for a great feel of the court, and a Zoom Air unit supports the heel on hard landings.

The Kyrie 2 is available in stores and online in a variety of different colorways. Grab a pair for you or one for your kids today!

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