Kobe Bryant and Nike to continue their partnership

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Kobe Bryant and Nike to continue their partnership

Kobe Bryant and Nike are set to continue their longtime partnership after the superstar’s estate reached an agreement with the American brand.

Nike will now continue producing both footwear and apparel from Bryant’s Zoom Kobe series, his wife Vanessa Bryant and Nike announced. The news comes nearly a year after Kobe Bryant’s initial endorsement deal with the brand expired.

“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa Bryant wrote in an Instagram 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.”

Nearly 20% of NBA players have worn a Kobe sneaker for a game since Bryant, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers died in a January 2020 helicopter crash.

During the 2019-20 season, 102 of the 322 total players competing in the league’s restart wore a Kobe sneaker.

Vanessa Bryant added that Nike has agreed to donate all net proceeds from Kobe and Gigi Bryant products to the family’s youth sports nonprofit, the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

In addition to re-releases of the 11 signature Kobe models worn by Bryant during his career, and potentially six post-career models as well, Nike will be launching a new Gigi Bryant shoe series, with a charity component.

The renewed collaboration comes 11 months after Bryant revealed she and her late husband’s estate had chosen not to renew its longstanding contract with the apparel giant.

Friction between the estate and Nike reportedly stemmed in part from a lack of availability of Kobe-branded products, both after his retirement from the NBA in 2016 and then following his death at age 41 in a helicopter crash. A lack of shoes in child sizes was also reportedly an issue for Bryant’s estate but that all is now in the past.

Kobe Bryant and Nike first started their collaboration in 2003 after the 18-time All-Star and five-time champion ended his partnership with rival shoe brand Adidas.

 

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