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Kobe Bryant spent much of his NBA career as a Nike athlete, and that relationship will continue going forward.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's widow, announced via Instagram on Thursday that the Bryant family's partnership with Nike has been renewed, with an agreement to donate "net proceeds" from Kobe's shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation and establish a youth basketball center in Southern California.
The full statement:
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. With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come and with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF). 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. I know this is an inspiring moment for my husband and daughter's global fans, and I am very appreciative of each and every one of you!
With Gratitude for every fan around the world supporting Kobe and Gigis Legacy,
The first shoe under the new partnership: A "Mambacita Sweet 16" in tribute to Gigi Bryant's 16th birthday.
The 1st shoe to release in the new Kobe & Nike partnership will honor his daughter Gianna, who would have turned 16 on May 1, 2022
“The Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ will honor Gigi Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.” pic.twitter.com/pgT4Ab4s5g
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) March 24, 2022
The two sides appeared to be heading different ways when their previous deal expired in April 2021. Any number of companies may have been interested in adding Bryant's name to their stable, and there was also speculation Vanessa could launch her own brand after the family's attorney filed for several trademarks.
Instead, the Bryants and Nike are reuniting, with money going toward a good cause. Bryant joined Nike in 2003 after spending the first six years of his career with Adidas, and became one of the biggest names at a company that also has Michael Jordan and LeBron James.