Kobe Bryant’s deal with Nike is officially over, Vanessa Bryant, wife to the late basketballer announced to ESPN on Monday night. The 5-year contract with Nike ended this month and negotiations to renew the contract proved futile.
Vanessa, on behalf of the Kobe Bryant Estate, explained they couldn’t reach a favourable agreement with Nike. She mentioned that since Kobe’s retirement in 2016, his shoes haven’t gotten as much attention as before. The availability of Kobe products was limited. For example, shoe sizes for kids were not produced in the usual large amounts.
Nike has not said anything to address the limit in Kobe Bryant products. It, however, made an official statement saying that Kobe will forever be a part of the Nike family.
The Nike brand is a multinational company concerned about the production and sales of footwear and apparel, amongst other services. It was founded in 1964 and is majorly a sports equipment company.
The brand has grown over the years and now does collaborations with celebrities and stars, especially athletes, to make unique statement pieces. Kobe Bryant was one of those athletes.
The Kobe-Nike Story
Kobe Bryant’s relationship with Nike started in 2003 after a previous partnership with Adidas. For the remaining 13 years of his professional career, Kobe had a seamless relationship with Nike until months after his retirement on the 13th of April 2016 when things started falling apart.
Vanessa expressed regret at the final fall apart this month. In her statement with ESPN, she said,
“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honour Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”Vanessa Bryant
To affirm that, she stated that she is serious about making sure fans get Kobe products. Sources have stated that she and the estate are in talks with other brands to form a new partnership.
Kobe and his daughter Gigi Mamba were lost to the cold hands of death last year in a helicopter crash, but his legacy and impact on posterity have proven to outlive him. Kobe remains loved, cherished and respected forever. His shoes and products are ways of immortalising his name and legacy.