Kobe Bryant’s shoe deal with Nike officially came to an end on April 13, 2021. With negotiations between Bryant’s estate and the shoe company seemingly stalling out, there is plenty of speculation regarding what will come for both sides.
The deal came to a conclusion exactly five years to the day from Bryant’s 60-point performance in the finale of his Hall of Fame career. The partnership with Nike spans back to 2003 after his first deal with Adidas came to an end, making it one of the longest-running sneaker lines in basketball.
Although Bryant’s estate is free to pursue other potential deals with shoe companies, it remains to be seen if the two parties will be able to agree to a new contract. Regardless, this has not stopped Nike from acknowledging the impact he made during his time with the company.
Nike released a statement regarding the expiring deal and included praise for Bryant for his contributions through the years, via Nick DePaula of ESPN:
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike told ESPN in a statement. “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.”
Bryant showcased 11 different models as part of his signature line during his playing career. Nike also released over 10 pairs of Kobe signature shoes since his passing, with more originally scheduled through 2021.
Among the latest shoes to release was the Nike Kobe 6 ‘Grinch,’ which became one of the most coveted sneakers in his line. Nike restocked the product on their SNKRS app on April 13 as part of their homage to Bryant’s final NBA game with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reports have also resurfaced regarding Bryant’s plans to start a player-owned sneaker company called Mamba prior to his passing. Of course, it remains to be seen if a project of this magnitude is still in the works.
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