The world will now be able to buy shoes and merch from the legendary Kobe Bryant signature line after his wife, Vanessa, announced that Nike and the Kobe Bryant Estate agreed to a new deal to continue their partnership.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa Bryant wrote in her official announcement Instagram post. “I am so proud that my husband’s shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world.”
After a brief split starting in early 2021, the world will again have full access to Nike products of the late Kobe Bryant as well as Gianna. https://t.co/sgXA7T6ddb— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 24, 2022
The shoe and apparel company will reportedly be donating all net proceeds of Gianna Bryant’s sneakers to the Mamba and Mambacity Sports Foundation, and are working towards establishing a youth basketball center in Southern CA. The new agreement comes nearly a year after the Kobe Bryant Estate, and Nike couldn’t agree to a new deal after his five-year, post-retirement endorsement extension with Nike expired in April 2021.
Contract talks stalled after the Bryant estate pushed Nike to produce a higher volume of Kobe’s for the re-release as well as the expansion of Kobe’s to include kid sizes. Another key element in contract negotiations was its commitment to launching a new basketball facility in the Black Mamba’s name.
According to ESPN, Nearly 20% of NBA players have worn Kobe’s since the Black Mamba, Gianna, and seven others passed away in a January 2020 helicopter crash. During the 2019-2020 campaign, 102 of the 322 total players competing in the League’s Orlando bubble wore Kobe’s. Nike also plans on starting several initiatives plan to honor Bryant’s legacy.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” John Donahoe, Nike’s president, and CEO, said in a statement. “His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
Nike will not only be re-releasing all 11 Kobe’s, including six potential post-career silhouettes, but the company will also be launching a line of sneakers for Gigi Bryant too. The first releases could arrive as soon May 1, which would fall on Gigi’s 16th birthday. The Gigi sneaker colorways will be styled similarly to the Mamba Ballers team colors, and will include gold accents, they were originally produced just before Bryant’s contract expired but were never released.
“The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ will honor Gigi Bryant,” Nike said in a statement. “All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.”