Vanessa Bryant declines to renew partnership between Nike and estate of late husband Kobe Bryant
Vanessa Bryant took to social media on Monday to announce that her late husband’s contract with Nike has expired and would not be renewed.
‘Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,’ Vanessa posted on her Instagram Stories for her roughly 14.6 million followers.
‘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,’ her post continued.
Partnership over: Vanessa Bryant, shown in November 2019 with her late husband Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, took to social media on Monday to announce that Kobe’s contract with Nike has expired and would not be renewed
‘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,’ the statement said.
‘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,’ the post concluded.
Kobe died at age 41 in a January 2020 helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends and the pilot.
Nike in a statement Monday confirmed the partnership was over while also praising Kobe’s contributions and legacy.
Popular shoes: A Nike Kobe Bryant basketball sneaker is shown on display at the Niketown store in New York City in June 2009
Full statement: ‘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,’ the statement said in part
‘Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family,’ the Nike statement said.
A source told ESPN that Vanessa and the estate had become frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products since his retirement and after his tragic death.
There also were differences about the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in children’s sizes, according to sources.
Lakers legend: Kobe is shown in December 2017 with Vanessa, Natalia, Gianna and Bianka during a ceremony retiring his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys
Kobe after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game with the Los Angeles Lakers in April 2016 had a five-year endorsement extension contract that continued his partnership with Nike into his retirement.
After his retirement, a series of sneakers that Kobe dubbed ‘Protro’ were released with past shoes upgraded to pro-level, retro editions.
Kobe first signed with Nike in 2003 and appeared in numerous ads while releasing multiple signature sneakers.
Multiple editions: Kobe first signed with Nike in 2003 and appeared in numerous ads while releasing multiple signature sneakers, including the Grinch edition of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI shown in December 2010 in Los Angeles
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