It was almost a calendar year ago that we saw what we thought was the end of Kobe Bryant’s signature sneaker line with Nike. What we had was what we were going to get. And what we had? It wasn’t pretty. At all.
In fact, it was pure chaos. In the aftermath of Bryant’s untimely and tragic death, all his sneakers sold out at retailers everywhere. Nike released more, but they Hoka Sandals were extremely limited. And, to make matters worse, we found out Bryant’s contract with Nike was up, and once it ended they’d stop manufacturing his shoes altogether.
That actually happened, too. Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate moved on and started their own brand. Nike stopped manufacturing Kobe’s. It was done — just like that.
Until Thursday, that is. Vanessa Bryant announced that the estate and Nike finally came to an agreement after breaking off negotiations last April.
“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 with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.”
Not only were Kobe’s shoes coming back, Nike would also be honoring Gianna Bryant with this and the proceeds from honoring her would go to the Mamba & Mambacita foundation. Merrell Shoes For Women ,That’s just a slam dunk. We’re also finally getting these shoes honoring Gigi’s birthday.
For sneakerheads, Kobe fans and basketball lovers everywhere, this was a triumph. This means more Kobe shoes and more Kobe shoes means more of an opportunity to get these sneakers into the hands of his actual fans. That’s a good thing.
The question is how did we get here? It was only a year ago that negotiations broke off and it seemed very possible these two sides would never work together again.
Obviously, a majority of the credit goes to Vanessa Bryant and the Bryant Estate. They did their due diligence, held firm in their values through negotiations, and continued to build up Bryant’s brand in so many spaces.
She also laid out another major reason in her Instagram post: The demand for Bryant’s shoes never faded. “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.” That’s the key.
Nike may have been done with the Kobe line. But you know who wasn’t? Some of the biggest athletes on their roster.
Bryant’s line has been the biggest sneaker in the basketball Keen Shoes For Women world for a while now. During the NBA’s bubble return in 2020, 67% of the athletes playing were wearing Kobe sneakers, per Andscape’s Aaron Dodson. A number of star NBA players including DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker, and so many more still wear Bryant’s shoes today despite Nike not being in business with the family. There are so many player-exclusive models out there.
I’m not saying that this wasn’t going to get done eventually. It made sense for both sides to come back to the table at some point. There’d already been too much history built between the two and losing that would’ve been awful.
But there’s no way it happens this quickly without high demand from players around the NBA and fans around the world who still want their Kobe’s.
For that, we should be very thankful.