Kobe Bryant’s Nike Deal Expires, Vanessa Bryant Reportedly Frustrated W/ Limited Availability Of His Products
His widow, Vanessa Bryant announced the news with a statement on Instagram and wrote,
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21. 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. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping for 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.”
An insider alleged, according to ESPN, that Vanessa Bryant was upset about the availability of Kobe Bryant products Nike offered during his 2016 retirement and after he tragically died in January of 2020.
She was also reportedly frustrated with the lack of availability in kids’ sizes.
Sources also said Nike’s offer didn’t meet expectations of a “lifetime” layout like the contracts Michael Jordan and Lebron James have with the athletic brand.
Future releases of Kobe Bryant’s products could be pulled. It’s not clear if his estate will find a home with another brand or start its own. Vanessa Bryant told ESPN the estate has ownership rights to the “Mamba” logo and the late NBA player’s signature, while the “Sheath” logo (frequently seen on the tongue of Kobe’s Nike shoes), is owned by both the estate and Nike.
Nike said in a statement,
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
Kobe Bryant first signed with Nike in 2003 after an extensive deal with Adidas at the beginning of his NBA career.
What are your thoughts on the partnership ending? Comment and let us know.