Kobe Bryant Estate, Nike renew partnership
The Kobe Bryant Estate and Nike have reached an agreement to rekindle the partnership, nearly a year after it dissolved.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, made the announcement on social media Thursday. Nike will continue to make products for the Kobe line while also establishing a Gianna Bryant line of shoes.
Nike has agreed to donate 100 percent of the net proceeds to Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, per Vanessa Bryant’s announcement. Nike and the Kobe estate are also planning to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue,” Vanessa Bryant posted to Instagram. “I am so proud that my husband’s shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world.”
Vanessa opted against renewing the contract with Nike in April 2021. At issue was the limited availability of Kobe’s products during his retirement and after his death. Kobe’s estate felt Nike’s lifetime offer was not in line with those given to Michael Jordan and LeBron James, per reports.
Bryant signed with Nike in 2003 and his five-year, post-retirement extension expired April 13, 2021. However, ESPN and Complex reported that Bryant was growing frustrated with the sneaker giant prior to his death and that frustration continued with his estate after his death.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant were among nine people killed Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were riding in crashed on a foggy morning in hilly terrain in Calabasas, Calif.