Kobe Bryant’s estate reaches new long-term deal with Nike
The Kobe Bryant estate has entered into a new long-term contract with Nike to continue to produce both Bryant’s Zoom Kobe series footwear and apparel, Vanessa Bryant and Nike announced Thursday.
The news comes nearly a year after Kobe Bryant’s original deal with Nike expired.
“We are delighted to announce that our partnership with Nike will 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 the NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remains so desired by his fans around the world.”
Nearly 20% of NBA players have worn a Nike Kobe sneaker for a game since Bryant, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. During the season 2019-20, 102 of the total 322 players participating in the league restart at Walt Disney World Resort wore a Kobe sneaker.
From Nike’s perspective, he will seek to provide young athletes with access to youth sports, with several initiatives planned globally to honor Bryant’s legacy.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to many of us, not just NBA fans, but beyond the game globally,” Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement. . “Her impact in the growth of the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to play it, remains one of her most profound and enduring legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
In addition to reissues of the 11 iconic Kobe shoes worn by Bryant during his career, and potentially his six post-career models, Nike will also release a new series of Gigi Bryant shoes, with a charity component.
“With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to access Kobe and Gigi Nike merchandise for years to come,” said Vanessa Bryant. “Nikes [is] donating 100% of annual net proceeds from Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF).”
According to Nike, the first iteration of the renewed partnership could arrive as early as May 1, which would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday. Designed in the colors of “Gigi’s” Mamba Ballers” team’s black and white uniform, with gold accents, this shoe was originally produced just before the contract expired last April and n was ever officially released.
“The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ will pay homage to Gigi Bryant,” Nike said in a statement. “All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.”
During stalled talks leading up to the deal’s eventual expiration last year, Kobe Bryant’s estate pushed Nike to produce a higher volume of shoes for reissue launches as well as Kobe’s shoe expansion. to include children’s sizes. But another key part of the renewed partnership with Nike was its commitment to launch a new basketball facility in Bryant’s name.
“I am also grateful that Nike and I are working together to create a youth basketball center in Southern California that will share the Mamba mentality with young athletes for generations to come,” Vanessa Bryant wrote.
While the production process and timeline for new sneaker designs can typically take 14 to 18 months, several of Nike’s Kobe sneakers may be slated for factory production sooner than that, sources have told ESPN, now. that a new contract with Kobe Bryant’s estate is in place.
“I know this is an inspiring moment for my husband and daughter’s global fans,” Vanessa Bryant said. “And I’m very grateful to each and every one of you!”