A little under a year ago, the relationship between Nike and the estate of NBA legend Kobe Bryant officially ended when the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Now, Nike says the two parties have renewed their partnership.
In a press release, Nike said the renewal of the partnership with Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, will inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sports.
“I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi‘s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” Vanessa Bryant said in a written statement.
The next Kobe Bryant shoe will be released at a later date. The Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” will honor his daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe will go toward the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Vanessa and Nike plan on working together to launch a youth basketball center in Southern California. The partnership will also continue to outfit NBA and WNBA players who carry the legacy of the Mamba Mentality.
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” said John Donahoe, Nike president and CEO.
“His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
Bryant originally signed with adidas for his first sneaker contract before signing with Nike in 2003. He had signed a five-year extension in April 2016, which ended last year when his estate and the sneaker giant did not come to an agreement.
The 41-year-old basketball legend died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California., along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people on Jan. 26, 2020.