Vanessa Bryant announces new partnership with Nike honouring Kobe and Gianna Bryant
Nearly a year after ending a decades-long contract with Nike, Vanessa Bryant announced on Instagram that Kobe Bryant’s estate has entered into a new relationship with the company to honor the legacy of her late husband and daughter Gianna.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!”
Vanessa Bryant wrote on Thursday. “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.”
Kobe Bryant contract with Nike expired in April 2021 after 18 years when the sports apparel company and Vanessa Bryant failed to reach an agreement.
Vanessa Bryant had voiced her frustration several times on social media over the limited availability of Kobe Bryan’s signature shoe following his death. In December 2020, she said she “reached out to Nike” after hearing that “fans are having a hard time” buying the Kobe ‘Grinch’ 6’s. In June 2021, she sounded off on the company again after the Gigi MAMBACITA shoe was produced by Nike without her permission.
But under the new partnership, Vanessa Bryant said “fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come.”
Vanessa Bryant explained on Thursday that the new partnership with Nike will champion the next generation of athletes and provide funding for the nonprofit organization she created in honor of her husband and daughter. Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, along with seven others.
“Nike (is) donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation,” Vanessa Bryant wrote. “I am also grateful that Nike and I will work together to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California that will share the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come.”
John Donahue, President/CEO of Nike, said the company is looking forward to honouring “Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” Donahue said in a 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.”
Nike announced that the first new Kobe release from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16,” will honour Giana Bryant. A release date has not yet been announced.