Vanessa Bryant reconnects with Nike, announces Gigi and Kobe shoes

“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa Bryant said in a statement

Kobe Bryant‘s estate will continue its partnership with Nike after announcing in 2021 the decision not to renew its contract with the apparel giant. 

“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late Lakers star said in a post shared to her Instagram account. “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.”

Tribeca Shorts: Animated Shorts curated by Whoopi Goldberg - 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant attend the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 22, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

As reported by theGrio, Kobe 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 continued as a brand representative after his retirement in 2016 from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Vanessa will work with Nike to further the legacy of Kobe and their daughter Gianna (Gigi) Bryant, who both perished in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles in January 2020. 

Per Sports Illustrated, the first shoe release will be the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” in honor of Gigi. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The release date has not been announced. 

The Bryant family, through their partnership with Nike, will also establish a youth basketball center in Southern California. 

“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” John Donahoe, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc., said via Nike’s press release. “His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”

kobe and gigi
Gianna Bryant and Kobe Bryant attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Last year, Vanessa Bryant opted not to renew the family’s contract with Nike after the five-year endorsement extension expired. At the time, she shared the following 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.”

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.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!