Kobe Bryant’s estate reaches new deal with Nike
7: 46 PM ET
Kobe Bryant’s estate has reached a new long-term contract with Nike to continue producing both footwear and apparel from Bryant’s Zoom Kobe series, Vanessa Bryant and Nike announced on Thursday. This news comes almost a year after Kobe Bryant left Nike’s original endorsement deal.
” We are excited to announce that our partnership with Nike will continue! Vanessa Bryant wrote in an Instagram post. “I am proud that my husband’s shoes continue to be the most worn on NBA courts and that his shoes are so sought after by his fans around 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 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. Nike’s view is that it will provide youth athletes with access to sports. There are several initiatives being planned worldwide to honor Bryant’s legacy. John Donahoe (Nike’s president, CEO) said that
“Kobe Bryant is so important to us all, not just NBA fans, but worldwide. His contribution to the sport’s growth, especially encouraging young people and women to take up the sport, is one of his most lasting and profound legacy. We hope to honor Kobe as well as Gigi together with Vanessa by supporting a new generation for many more years. “
In addition to re-releases of the 11 signature Kobe models worn by Bryant during his career, and potentially his six post-career models as well, Nike also will be launching a new Gigi Bryant shoe series, with a charity component.
” With this partnership, fans will soon have access to Kobe or Gigi Nike products for many years to come,” Vanessa Bryant stated. “Nike [is] donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF). “
According to Nike, the first release from the renewed partnership could arrive as soon as May 1, which would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday. Styled in “Gigi’s” black and white “Mamba Ballers” team uniform colors, with gold accents, that shoe was originally produced just before last April’s contract expiration, and never officially released.
“The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ will honor Gigi Bryant,” Nike said in a statement. Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation will receive all proceeds from the sale of the shoe. “
During stalled talks leading up to the eventual expiration of the deal last year, the Kobe Bryant estate had pushed for Nike to produce a higher volume of shoes for the re-release launches as well as the expansion of Kobe’s shoes to include kids’ sizes. Another key element of renewing the partnership was Nike’s commitment to Bryant’s new basketball facility.
” “I am also grateful to Nike and I will collaborate to establish a youth center in Southern California that shares the Mamba Mentality to youth athletes for generations,” Vanessa Bryant wrote.
While the production process and timeline for new sneaker designs can typically take anywhere from 14 to 18 months, several of Nike’s Kobe sneakers can be accessed for factory production sooner than that, sources told ESPN, now that a new contract with the Kobe Bryant estate is in place.
” I know this is an inspirational moment for my husband, and daughter’s worldwide fans,” Vanessa Bryant stated. “And I am very grateful to each and every one! “
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