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As the world continues to mourn the tragic death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others who passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26, sportswear giant Nike is paying tribute to the five-time NBA champion with a new colorway of his sneaker the Kobe 5 Proto, according to Footwear News. Expected to arrive sometime in March, the shoes are inspired by the Los Angeles Lakers, where Bryant played ball for 20 years.
Fans got their first glance when Lakers star Anthony Davis wore the shoes during the All-Star game earlier this month in Chicago. First released in 2010, Nike rereleased the sneakers at the end of 2019 as a part of their Proto initiative, where they reimagine classic shoes with modern features. Bryant famously wore the kicks when he helped the Lakers defeat the Boston Celtics to win his fifth NBA championship in 2010.
While the Swoosh has yet to confirm when they’ll hit the market, several reports have identified March 26 as the target date of the drop.
In the aftermath of Bryant’s sudden passing, several NBA stars have paid tribute to the 41-year-old by wearing his signature sneaker on the court or donning pairs of shoes featuring the Philadelphia native’s likeness along with images his 13-year-old daughter Gigi.
Some have even taken a step further have decided that from here on out, they’ll only wear Bryant’s shoes when they take the hardwood.
“I’ve been Team Kobe my whole life … ,” former Washington Wizards star Isaiah Thomas said, via The Undefeated. “I will always wear Kobes and pay homage to, in my opinion, the greatest player to ever play.”
Bryant’s shoes continued to be a favorite on the court even after he called it a career. According to a study released by Versus Reviews in 2017, out of the 334 athletes in the league, 64% of them wore shoes made by Nike, with Adidas coming in second with 17.7%, roughly 92 players total. Topping the list of the 15 most popular kicks were the Nike Kobe A.D. lows, a favorite among some of the NBA’s best.
Considering Mamba’s influence has grown immensely in the aftermath of his death, the first sneaker to be released posthumously will undoubtedly sell out quickly.
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