Nike Continues Partnership with The Bryant Family in Honor of Kobe Bryant's Legacy
It always felt wrong when Nike and Kobe Bryant's family broke up last year. After the late basketball legend's Nike contract expired on April 13, 2021, Bryant's wife Vanessa and the Kobe Bryant Estate decided not to renew the deal. Since then, Nike has frozen new Kobe sneaker releases, resale prices have skyrocketed, and players across the NBA are scrambling to find new pairs to wear. It has been a long wait, but Nike has finally re-established its partnership with the Bryant family.
Nike and Vanessa announced today the continuation of the Kobe partnership in order to "inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sport."
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said in the press release. “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.”
The partnership will begin with the "Mambacita Sweet 16" Kobe 6 Protro, which honors Bryant's daughter Gigi. The proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The "Mambacita" Kobe 6 leaked last year after Nike and the Bryant's parted ways, prompting Vanessa to criticize Nike for the unapproved design.
“I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi, and we don’t,” she said in response to leaked images of the sneaker. We're now learning more about how pairs may have made it into the marketplace.
There appears to be a healthy relationship between Nike and Vanessa, as she has expressed her joy about continuing the partnership and has agreed to work with Nike and the Bryant family to establish a youth basketball court in Southern California. The Bryant family continues to outfit NBA and WNBA players who embody the Mamba Mentality.The release details for the "Mambacita Sweet 16" Kobe 6 will be announced at a later date.
“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. With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come and with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF).”
Release details surrounding the “Mambacita Sweet 16” Kobe 6 will be announced at a later date.