Kobe Bean Bryant’s spirit is home; his memory belongs to his family and those who knew him best off the court. For on-court purposes though, Mamba is finally home for those who only knew him through hoops. His estate, led by his wife Vanessa, has reunited with Nike.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue! 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.
With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come and with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF).
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. I know this is an inspiring moment for my husband and daughter’s global fans, and I am very appreciative of each and every one of you!”
The post was signed:
“With gratitude for every fan around the world supporting Kobe and Gigis Legacy, Vanessa Bryant”
Kobe’s influence on the league’s current crop of players is undeniable. The new deal will ensure his importance is visibly known to the next generation as well. Per ESPN, about 20% of NBA players have checked in at the scorer’s table wearing Kobes since Gianna and the Mamba went down in a January 2020 helicopter crash. About 1/3 of the 322 players in the Disney World Bubble wore a pair of Kobes.
Nike will profit off keeping the Mamba brand alive even if most of the direct proceeds go to charity works. Nike President and CEO John Donahoe’s statement explained,
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game. 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.”
At least 11 signature Kobes are scheduled for release, including six post-career editions. Nike’s Gigi Bryant series will focus heavily on the charity component. The first release, the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16”, will honor Gianna Bryant.
All proceeds are to benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The new contract mandates Nike donate 100% of net proceeds from the Gigi Bryant series to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. There will be a youth basketball center in Southern California built as well.
According to Nike, the first release could come by May 1, which would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday. The colorway, modeled after Gigi’s black and white Mamba Ballers team uniform with gold accents, was originally conceived before the last contract expired but never officially released.
Selfishly, I just hope this means the price of Kobes comes down. I want another A.D. Easter edition pair but I need something bigger than the shoebox to live in. After Bryant’s death, the contract with Nike expired. Meaning there was once a possibility no more Kobes would ever be made. Prices skyrocketed. Even NBA players had to scale back the Kobe budget. This deal at least relaxes that market.
RIP Kobe and GiGi.
To donate to a girl’s program near you, please visit the WNBA Foundation programs page.