Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s estate will not renew contract with Nike
Bryant revealed she will "continue to fight" for Kobe fans to wear his products
After the five-year endorsement extension expired this month, Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant‘s estate have chosen not to renew their contract with Nike.
Per ESPN, this decision was not made lightly and came from Bryant’s frustration with Nike. Reportedly, “Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids’ sizes, according to sources.”
Vanessa shared a statement with ESPN and supporters via her Instagram story, shedding light on the tough decision.
The wife of the late basketball legend shared in her statement, “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,” Vanessa continued. “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 everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
Nike also released a statement to ESPN regarding the end of their contract with the Kobe estate. It reads: “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.”
Per ESPN, “It is believed that all future releases of Kobe Bryant-branded footwear and apparel manufactured by Nike will be halted.” Now free from the contract, it is possible the estate could “enter negotiations” with competing brands in the future.
Bryant originally signed with the brand in 2003, headlining the Zoom Huarache 2K4 and 2K5 sneakers and “11 signature models under the Nike Kobe series.” Bryant served as a brand representative after his retirement in 2016 from the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to ESPN, in the 2019-2020 season, “102 players wore a Kobe-branded sneaker, the most of any player’s sneaker line in the league.”
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