Kobe Bryant’s estate and Nike have reached a deal to continue the long-standing partnership.
On Thursday (March 24), the sportswear brand revealed it had established a new arrangement with Vanessa Bryant with a focus on championing a new generation of fans and encouraging youth participation in sports. According to a news memo, the first new shoe from the partnership will be the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” in honor of Gigi Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe sales will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” expressed John Donahoe, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc. “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.”
Vanessa Bryant added, “I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi’s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come.”
In April 2021, Kobe Bryant’s deal with Nike expired, and it was reported that Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate decided not to renew the partnership. A source informed ESPN that Bryant’s wife and the estate had expressed frustrations with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash, among other issues regarding products for children.
Beyond footwear and apparel, the new partnership includes Vanessa and Nike collaborating to open a youth basketball center in Southern California. Nike and the Bryant family will continue to outfit NBA and WNBA athletes who carry the legacy of the Mamba Mentality.