Around 15 months after his tragic death in a helicopter accident, Kobe Bryant is no longer associated with sportswear giants Nike.
Kobe’s relationship with Nike lasted a good 11 shoes long during his playing career. Bryant was earlier with Adidas, but that partnership didn’t last too long.
There was a time in the early noughties when Kobe courted Jordan Brand by wearing their shoes. He eventually inked a deal with Nike in the mid-2000s, and this became a successful partnership.
A number of coveted sneakers came out of the Kobe line, which seemed tailor-made for outdoor hooping. The shoes exuded the same old-school aura as Kobe’s game did.
Prices for Kobe shoes skyrocketed after his untimely and tragic helicopter accident last year. Nike has re-released several of his most popular shoes through the course of his career since January 2020.
Nike announces that the Kobe Bryant estate is now a sneaker free agent
We’ve all heard the murmurs about how Kobe was about to drop Nike and start his own sneaker company. Well, Bryant died without those plans coming to fruition, and now his Nike deal has run down. The US-based sportswear company released this statement after the fact:
“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.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 20, 2021
Vanessa alluded to the same successful partnership in her most recent Instagram story. She wrote the following text message to Kobe fans:
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on April 13th, 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.”
“It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s shoe than any other signature shoe. My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products.”
Vanessa Bryant just posted this about Kobe’s contract with Nike expiring. pic.twitter.com/KR7hUTCxcn
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) April 20, 2021
“I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy.”
“We will always do whatever we can to honor Kobe and Gianna’s legacies. That will never change.”