The end of the years-long partnership between the Kobe Bryant estate and Nike has made the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s signature shoes a particularly valuable commodity.
Former Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he was immediately going to stock up on the still available Kobes when asked about the surprising news.
“But the reaction that I had was I was shocked. I didn’t think that would happen,” he added at the time.
As Bryant’s sneakers had been the most popular shoe brand among the NBA stars for many years, many followed Caldwell-Pope in rushing to stores to get themselves extra pairs of Kobes before the supply dries out, with Anthony Davis being among them.
Now, ESPN Brian Windhorst’s reports that there are so few Kobe shoes left on the market that the players and their agents desperately hunt for them — with large sizes they typically wear belonging to the scarcest of stockpiles:
NBA players who wear size 14 or larger are looking at spending at least $800 for the most basic models of Kobes, and that’s not what they typically wear. But the players are paying, with several telling ESPN they’ve spent more than five figures buying supplies of Kobes on the secondary market since last spring and summer.
“I’m not going into a store and finding a [size] 17 in a Kobe. No way,” says Anthony Davis, who switched to the Kobes when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019. “I mean, it’s guys’ favorite shoes. … A lot of people are inspired by him, and the shoe feels amazing. All of them feel amazing.”
As Nike has stopped manufacturing the shoes, some NBA stars reportedly limit the number of Kobes they use in a season to avoid depleting their stash too soon. Others are believed to call fellow Kobe enthusiasts, who have access to a bigger supply of Bryant’s sneakers, asking for help in acquiring more pairs.
Davis has been wearing Kobe’s sneakers since joining the Lakers, so if he is having trouble finding some these days then the same can be said for essentially anyone else.
’KB24’ products and services to launch soon
Vanessa Bryant’s application to trademark ‘KB24’ might serve as consolation for the desperate NBA stars who are running out of Kobes. Vanessa’s move suggests more products and services with the KB24 mark might enter the market soon.
However, the mark reportedly was applied for neither a new shoe line nor other sporting goods.
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