Nike shoe deal with Kobe Bryant ends after NBA legend’s widow Vanessa let her contract expire

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Kobe Bryant’s long-standing shoe deal with Nike ended after the widow of NBA legend Vanessa chose not to re-sign with the sportswear giant.

The five-year contract, which would have earned Bryant up to $ 10 million a year as a base payment, expired last week.

Bryant, who died alongside his daughter Gianna in January 2020, first signed with Nike in 2003 and went on to release some of the most popular basketball shoes in the world.

The five-time NBA champion’s signature line turned the sport’s historic trend as Bryant created low-cut shoes based on his experiences playing soccer while growing up in Italy.

Demand for Bryant’s Nike shoes increased after his death, and the company quickly released limited-edition reboots of previous models.

Corn ESPN reports that the Bryant family had “become frustrated” with Nike, saying the company had limited inventory of its clothing and suspended expansion in children’s sizes.

Vanessa asked for a “lifetime” contract – as awarded to Michael Jordan and LeBron James – but Nike reportedly offered a shorter contract worth less than the family had expected.

Kobe Bryant sits next to a pair of his Nike shoes in 2016. Credit: Getty

“My hope will always be to allow Kobe fans to get and wear his products,” Vanessa said.

“I’m going to keep fighting for this. Kobe products sell out in seconds. That says it all.

“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do our utmost to honor the legacy of Kobe and Gigi (Gianna). It will never change.

Nike confirmed the partnership ended with a statement Monday night in the United States.

“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection with consumers,” the company said.

Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa at the official 2004 World Music Awards after-party.
Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa at the official 2004 World Music Awards after-party. Credit: Franck Micelotta/Getty Images

“He pushed us and improved everyone around him.

“Although our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”

It’s unclear whether Vanessa will resume talks with Nike at a later date or consider signing with another company.

Just months before his death, Bryant, whose estate owns the rights to his Mamba logo and signature, had considered starting his own brand when the Nike contract expired this month.

The news broke just a day after Vanessa marked the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary with two Instagram posts.

” Happy birthday baby. I like you. 20 years, ”she wrote.

“I love you for now, forever and ever.”


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