Kobe Bryant’s signature Nike sneakers are coming back

Among the many conundrums raised by Kobe Bryant’s death in early 2020, one seems silly: What will happen to his shoes? Bryant has long been among Nike’s most successful supporters, with a signature line of sneakers popular not only with fans but also his fellow NBA players. His departure seemed to throw all of that into the flow – and a series of events followed, including the termination of his contract and the public spat between Nike and the Bryant family, shows that Kobe fans won’t find an easy workaround. Last week, however, it was reported that Bryant’s estate and Nike would re-team to continue producing his signature line of sneakers. Effective immediately, Bryant’s sneakers will go into production again.

How do we get here? The friction between the two factions seems to have begun well before Bryant’s death. Accused, Bryant has long felt that Nike has pushed his shoes aside after his retirement, with new installments of the Kobe AD line coming and going with little internal fanfare. In December 2020, businessman Shervin Pishevar announced that, prior to his death, Bryant planned to split with Nike when his contract expires.

Following his death, Nike suspended all sales of Kobe sneakers until next August, at which point a number of new Kobe soccer cleats came out in celebration of his legacy. one week long. Even so, a series of hot resale sales dwindled in the following months, including the iconic Kobe 6 “Grinch”. For fans, the rumored low production numbers resulted in instant SNKRS out-of-stocks and sky-high resale prices. Demand for Kobe’s shoes is higher than ever, but the market just doesn’t seem to be equipped to meet the demands of fans looking to pick up a pair of their hero’s sneakers.

Less than a year later, the Bryant family decided not to renew Bryant’s signed athlete contract with Nike. In an ESPN story, sources claim that low production volumes, a lack of youth supply, and Nike’s refusal to offer a lifetime contract for the Bryant estate similar to the one for Michael Jordan and LeBron James prompted the split. turn. For those reasons, the Kobe 6 Protro “Del Sol,” released in June 2021, will be the last Kobe sneakers Nike makes. Later that year, unreleased and seemingly real photos of Kobe – which Vanessa Bryant herself helped design, in memory of her late daughter Gigi – were leaked online. In response, she released a statement asserting that she had disapproved of the shoe’s production and expressing disappointment that they had found their way to unspecified parties.

With Kobes ranking among the the most popular shoes in the leagueNBA players who wore them on the field soon found themselves in an arms race to upload. In a recent interviewChicago Bulls star Demar DeRozan explains that he has to scale back his habit of giving away his sneakers to fans in the arena, as they are now a finite resource.

For the foreseeable future, that shouldn’t be a problem: improved Bryant-Nike partnership seems to have had some significant changes, and is rooted in Kobe’s legacy later on. Via her InstagramVanessa Bryant has announced that Nike’s Kobe line will focus on youth basketball accessibility and accessibility.

In addition to plans for a youth basketball center in SoCal, Bryant also revealed that the first shoes released under the new collaboration will be the “Mambacita” 6 — a tribute to Gigi she helped The design and leaked photos seem to herald the end of the Nike-Bryant partnership. All proceeds from the shoe will be donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, the Bryant family’s nonprofit organization that works with underserved young athletes. Her post also suggests that the release of new colors could become something of a tradition, with the annual proceeds from sales going to benefit the organization. Given Kobe’s dedication to mentoring the next generation of athletes (and especially towards encouraging young women in sport), this seems like a fitting conclusion.

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