Nike and the Kobe Bryant estate have agreed to a new deal continuing the late basketball player’s line of sneakers and apparel. The announcement comes nearly a year after the estate declining to renew its contract with Nike, as Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, sought out a lifetime deal on par with the those of Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
A full 100 percent of the net proceeds from Kobe sales will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, according to an Instagram post by Vanessa. The foundation is committed to underserved boys and girls in sports, and Vanessa says her and Nike will work to build a new youth basketball center in Southern California.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa said in her post. “I am so proud that my husband's shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world. With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come.”
New shoes are coming soon — The first sneaker to release after the resumption of the Nike line will be a Kobe 6 Protro honoring Kobe and Vanessa’s daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, who also passed in the helicopter crash that took Kobe’s life. The variant will be named the “Mambacita Sweet 16” and will commemorate what would have been Gianna’s 16th birthday on May 1.
Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but the continuation of the Kobe line is welcomed for basketball fans and players alike. According to ESPN, nearly 20 percent of NBA players have worn a Kobe sneaker in-game since his death. Nike last released a Kobe sneaker in May 2020 in collaboration with the sneaker boutique, Undefeated. A Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita” made in honor of Gigi was never released after Vanessa said she hadn’t approved of it, and resale apps such as StockX and eBay removed listings for pairs that had made their way out to retailers.
It’s not yet clear if the “Mambacita Sweet 16” will be the same sneaker as the “Mambacita” or a completely new design. Nike says it’ll share release details for the sneaker at a later date.