After news broke that the Kobe Bryant estate is no longer renewing the late basketball icon’s lonstanding deal with
Vanessa wrote on Instagram confirming the end of an era, “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. My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. 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.”
Following the untimely death of her husband Kobe and daughter Gigi in January 2020, Vanessa has repeatedly expressed her frustration regarding the exclusivity of Nike Kobe products. Over the past year, she has continually wanted Nike to make the shoes more readily available for fans. Echoing her previous sentiments, she recently partnered with Undefeated to re-release the sneaker boutique’s Kobe 4 Protro collection, giving Los Angeles fans first priority on the restock.
Since 2003, Kobe launched over 11 signature sneakers during his playing career, releasing new models even post-retirement.
Check out the statement from Vanessa Bryant below.
Vanessa Bryant just posted this about Kobe's contract with Nike expiring. pic.twitter.com/KR7hUTCxcn
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) April 20, 2021
In other sports news, Toronto Raptors officially signed Japanese forward Yuta Watanabe to a standard NBA contract.