Earlier this week, Nike confirmed the end of its longtime partnership with late NBA player and legend Kobe Bryant.
During the initial time of the report, sources close to the estate of Kobe Bryant could only provide speculation as to why the deal was not renewed. But Vanessa Bryant, wife to the late NBA player and legend, has commented on the situation.
Bryant took to Instagram to make a statement saying:
“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.”
Bryant originally inked a deal with Nike back in 2003 following a stint with rival brand Adidas, and according to sneaker industry sources, the late basketball player’s deal with the DTC sportswear brand officially came to an end on April 13, 2021.
Over the past year, Vanessa has voiced her frustration regarding the exclusivity of Nike Kobe products and wanting to make Nike X Kobe shoes more readily available to fans. That said, Bryant has teamed up with Undefeated to re-release Nike’s Kobe 4 Protro collection. Fans in Los Angeles will be given priority on the restock.