New partnership details
Now that the Bryant estate will continue its partnership with Nike, a lot of details of the deal were shared by Mrs. Bryant in a social media post.
"We're excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue! 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."
Included in the deal was Nike donating 100 percent of net earnings from Gianna Bryant's shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The first shoe that will be released following the announcement will be the Kobe 6 Protro "Mambacita Sweet 16" in honor of Gigi Bryant, who was with her father when the tragedy happened.
Nike and Vanessa will also work together in building a youth basketball center in Southern California to continue Bryant's legacy in molding the next generation of athletes.
Why the partnership ended
Last April 2021, Vanessa Bryant decided to stop her family's partnership with Nike due to concerns over money and the limited production of Kobe Bryant's shoes. Vanessa reportedly wanted a lifetime contract similar to LeBron James and Michael Jordan. After The Black Mamba's tragic passing, production of his shoes has also been slow, to the dismay of players and fans alike. However, details of Kobe's frustrations with Nike apparently started in 2019.
Iranian-American angel investor and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar met with the Lakers legend in December 2019 and discussed plans to build a brand called "Mamba". The talks never progressed because of the tragic accident. Pishevar added that Kobe thought Nike could have done better in promoting his shoes. Bryant also allegedly did not trust Nike in designing his sneakers, so he wanted tighter control over the entire process.
Now, all seems good again for all the parties. With the revised details of the partnership, fans and players can hope for Kobe Bryant merch to become more accessible to them. Somewhere, somehow Kobe is smiling with this news.