23 Apr Vanessa Bryant Speaks Out About Kobe’s Partnership with Nike Ending
In 2003, Kobe’s partnership started and his collaboration with Nike birthed one of the longest-running sneaker lines in history. During his NBA career, Nike produced 11 sneaker designs, and continued to drop new models even after his 2016 retirement.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better,” said Nike in a recent statement.
“Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
In the 14 months following his sudden death, Nike has made more than 10 of the star’s signature designs available for fans. Even on resale platforms, sales skyrocketed as fans mourned the loss of their hero.
On April 13, after 18 years of the legendary partnership, the contract expired. Kobe’s estate made the executive decision to not renew it.
After the news was released, Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, explained why they came to that decision.
She mentioned that the Bryant’s had been unhappy with the way Nike had treated the Kobe line since his retirement. The limited releases and lack of size inclusivity, especially in the children’s range, disappointed the family.
“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 more than any other signature shoe.” she said.
She shared that she is determined to “fight for” his fans, so they can continue to wear his designs.
“I was hoping to forge a lifelong relationship with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” said Bryant. “We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies.”