Vanessa Bryant to release ‘Mambacita’ clothing line in honor of Gianna’s birthday
Vanessa Bryant, widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant, has revealed the first official release for the Mambacita clothing line in honor of their daughter Gianna “Gi Gi” Bryant who died in the fatal helicopter crash with her father and seven others in January 2020.
Set to be released on what would have been Gianna’s 15th birthday, Mrs. Bryant shared a preview to the athleisure wear on Instagram. She and her daughters posed in the merchandise, set to be released for purchase on Saturday, May 1.
“In honor of my Gigi’s 15th Birthday,” she wrote. “Happy birthday, Gigi! 100% of the proceeds go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation Unisex and Kids sizes available.”
The clothing features “Mambacita” across the chest, and has the number 2 inside a heart on the top of the left leg. One version displayed is offered in a black and white tie-dye print with the text and logo in red. The other has a white and periwinkle tie-dye pattern.
theGrio reported the Bryant family filed trademarks for ‘Mamba, Mambacita’ in March. an attorney for the Bryant family filed the trademark application for ‘Mamba’ and ‘Mambacita’ on March 10. The plan is to use the trademark for clothing such as shirts, pants, socks, hoodies, jackets, and more. As of now, there’s no clear mention if a sneaker line will be birthed under the brand.
Since their untimely passing, Kobe’s estate has filed for several trademarks, including ‘Mamba Sports Academy,’ ‘Mambacita,’ ‘Lady Mambas,’ and ‘Lil Mambas.’
After playing in the NBA for 20 years, Kobe spent his retirement being a coach and mentor to the next generation of ballers at the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility he opened in two California locations for children interested in sports. Gianna, 13, was a player for the Mambas girl’s team.
As Gianna started to make a name for herself with her impressive basketball skills, similar to those of her father, it only made sense that she adapted the nickname “Mambacita.”
Shortly after the trademarks were filed, Vanessa revealed Kobe’s estate will not renew the contract with Nike. After the five-year endorsement extension expired this month per ESPN, this decision was not made lightly and came from her frustration with the athletic brand. 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, explaining the tough decision.
“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.”
According to PEOPLE, in February, The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation announced the hiring of Kat Conlon, an experienced non-profit executive, as its first executive director.
“I am so proud to have Kat Conlon come on board as our Executive Director,” Vanessa Bryant, Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation Board of Directors president, said in a statement. “She brings an abundance of knowledge and experience that embodies supporting young women and equal opportunity.”
The foundation was created to fund programs in underserved communities and further Kobe and Gianna’s legacies through youth sports and charitable actions.
This article contains additional reporting by theGrio’s Tiffany Stewart.
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