Kobe Bryant May Have Been Leaving Nike to Start a Signature "Mamba" Sneaker Brand

Nike Reaches Agreement to Renew Kobe Bryant Partnership

A little under a year ago, the relationship between Nike and the estate of NBA legend Kobe Bryant officially ended when they couldn’t come to an amicable agreement. Now, Nike has just announced that the two sides have reached a deal to renew the partnership.

Nike has stated in a press release that they have restarted the partnership with Vanessa Bryant to collaborate and will inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sports.

“I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi‘s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” says Bryant in a written statement.

The next shoe release that will bear the Kobe name will be released at a later date. The Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” will honor his daughter, Gigi Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe will go towards the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Vanessa and Nike plan on working together to launch a youth basketball center in Southern California. The partnership will also continue to outfit the NBA and WNBA athletes who carry the legacy of the Mamba Mentality.

“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” says John Donahoe, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc. “His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”

Bryant had originally signed with rival adidas for his first sneaker contract before signing up with Nike in 2003. He had then signed a 5-year extension in April of 2016, which ended last year when his estate and the sneaker giant did not come to an agreement.

The 41-year-old basketball legend died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people on Jan. 26, 2020.

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