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After years of creating eye-catching kicks, Kobe Bryant‘s legendary partnership with Nike has ended. On behalf of her late husband, Vanessa Bryant shared the news via social media.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa posted on her Instagram Stories. “Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe. My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that.”
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She continued in the statement, “Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
Echoing the announcement, Nike shared a similar statement on Monday revealing that the contract has indeed ended. The famous sneaker brand went on to praise the late basketball star’s legacy via a statement that read, “Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
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According to ESPN, Vanessa and the Bryant estate reportedly decided to part ways with the Nike contract due to frustrations about the limited availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his tragic death in January 2020. The network also reports that there were concerns that Nike’s extension offer was not in line with current “lifetime” structures currently held by NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
For those who may not know, Kobe released multiple signature sneakers since he inked the deal with Nike in 2003.