Kyrie Irving has established himself as one of the leading youngsters in the NBA and the shoe industry, and despite not even hitting his 21st birthday, he is already viewed by many to be the next face in Nike’s long line of NBA superstars. We had a chance to link up with Kyrie on Thursday at the Galleria mall in downtown Houston where he was signing autographs for the little ones.
Foot Locker was keeping the fans happy too, with a Black/Red Jordan IV re-stock coming, All-Star Kobe/KD/LeBron pack releasing, and then the legendary Jordan III 88’s dropping exclusively at the store on Sunday. When we got up with the Cavaliers’ star, he said he’d be wearing Hyperdunks (as you might have seen in the Rising Stars Challenge) this weekend, chopped it up with the fans, then gave us a few minutes of his time before he had to bounce from Foot Locker’s dope pop-up in the middle of the mall.
SLAM: Foot Locker has done an amazing job with their “Week of Greatness” ad campaign that you were featured in. Talk a little bit about how Foot Locker and Nike have helped you become so marketable despite playing in a relatively small market.
Kyrie Irving: For me it’s all about trying to find my own brand and Foot Locker has been very gracious to help me with that. They’ve let me be the face of the Week of Greatness, and that just shows me how important they view me, which made it a pleasure to do on my end.
SLAM: Now it was great for you to come out here and sign autographs for the kids, but I already know how chaotic your All-Star Weekend is going to be. What’s your average day going to be like over the next three days?
KI: Oh man it’s going to be jam packed, but that comes with the territory. It’s an honor to be a part of the All-Star Weekend representing the Cleveland Cavaliers. First year All-Stars get hit with this kind of stuff, but I knew that going in and I’m here to enjoy it—everything from the interviews, appearances, and playing in the game itself.
SLAM: Now you’re a guy that represented us on our latest KICKS cover and are known to love flashy shoes as well as Jordans. What Foot Locker release are you looking forward to most this weekend?
KI: The Hyperdunks. I got a little preview of what I’m going to be wearing for the Rising Stars game, 3-point competition, and then what I’ll be wearing for the All-Star Game. I like the idea that Nike is coming up with. “Houston, We Have A Problem,” is Nike’s motto for this weekend and there is a problem here.
SLAM: Wrapping things up, you surprised a lot of people when you entered the Foot Locker 3-Point Contest. What made you decide to throw your name in that and make your weekend even busier?
KI: To be honest, I just wanted to challenge myself against some great shooters. I want to challenge myself against the best and hopefully I get wet!