Nike and the estate of Kobe Bryant have established a new long-term contract that will continue the production of both footwear and apparel from Bryant’s Zoom Kobe series. The announcement was made by Vanessa Bryant and Nike on Thursday.
Bryant’s initial endorsement deal with Nike expired nearly a year ago, and uncertainty loomed as to whether a new contract would be established. The demand for the Zoom Kobe product has always been high but skyrocketed following the passing of the NBA legend and Hall of Famer.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue!” Vanessa Bryant shared in a post on her Instagram. “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.”
Nike will look to provide young athletes access to youth sports, with a handful of initiatives planned around the world to honor Kobe’s legacy. “Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” said Nike President and CEO John Donahoe in a statement. “His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies,” he continued. “Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
Nike will re-release 11 signature Kobe models he wore during his career, with potentially an additional 6 post-career models. Nike will also launch a new Gigi Bryant shoe series with a charity component.
“With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come,” Vanessa Bryant said. “Nike [is] donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF).”
The first release from the renewed partnership could arrive as soon as May 1st, according to Nike, which would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday. They’ll feature Gigi’s “Mamba Ballers” black and white colors with gold accents. The shoe was originally produced before last April’s contract expiration but were never officially released. “The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ will honor Gigi Bryant,” Nike shared in a statement. “All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.”
Talks leading up to the expiration of the deal last year included Kobe Bryant’s estate requesting for Nike to produce a higher volume of shoes for the re-release launches alongside an expansion of the product to include kids’ sizes. Additionally, the estate wanted a contingency of the renewed contract to include launching a new basketball facility in Kobe’s name.
“I am also grateful that Nike and I will work together to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California that will share the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” shared Vanessa Bryant.