28 Mar Bryant Estate Reaches New Deal With Nike On Kobe Bryant Shoes
Kobe Bryant’s estate has reached a new long-term contract with Nike to continue producing footwear and apparel from Bryant’s Zoom Kobe series, Nike and Vanessa Bryant announced.
The news comes nearly a year after the late Bryant’s initial endorsement deal with Nike expired.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue,” Vanessa Bryant wrote in an 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 remains so desired by his fans around the world.”
In a statement, Nike said that in a partnership with Vanessa Bryant, Nike’s relationship with the Bryant family would focus on championing a new generation of fans and encouraging youth participation in sport.
The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16,” will honor Gigi Bryant, daughter of Vanessa and Kobe. All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
As part of the new partnership, Vanessa Bryant and Nike will work together to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California, and Nike and the Bryant family will continue to outfit NBA and WNBA athletes.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO, Nke, Inc. “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.”
Nearly 20 percent of NBA players have worn a Nike Kobe sneaker for a game since Bryant, with his daughter, Gigi, and seven others who died in a January 2020 helicopter crash. During the 2019/20 season, 102 of the 322 total players competing in the league’s restart at the Walt Disney World Resort wore a Kobe sneaker. The shoes are known as the Mamba and Mambacita.
Vanessa Bryant previously said she was parting ways with Nike over money and shoe availability issues. The previous contract ended in April 2021 after Vanessa Bryant reportedly sought a “lifetime” contract, similar to LeBron James and Michael Jordan’s. During stalled talks leading up to the deal’s expiration last year, the Kobe Bryant estate had pushed for Nike to produce a higher volume of shoes for the re-release launches and the expansion of Kobe’s shoes to include kids’ sizes. Another key element in renewing the partnership with Nike was its commitment to launching a new basketball facility in Bryant’s name.