The partnership that was forged in 2003 by the late Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant and Nike has come to an end. Vanessa Bryant, speaking to ESPN , stated that the contract ended on April 13, 2021. “Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe,” she says in the statement. “It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
However, after the announcement of the split was made, fans wanted to know more about the reasons why. The Lakers legend’s widow and the Kobe Bryant estate had expressed frustration at the limiting of availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his passing on January 2020. Sources have also stated that there was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids’ sizes.
“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” Bryant stated. “I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything.” She continued to say, “I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
Though details have not been released, it is expected that all upcoming Kobe Bryant-branded items, including footwear, production is to be halted as the estate and Vanessa look for outside brands to partner with. The Mexican American mama of four confirmed that the Kobe Bryant estate owns the rights to both the “Mamba” logo and his signature, so any brand that wins their business will have the rights to use Kobe’s logos as well.