Kobe Bryant and Nike had a long relationship that has continued after his tragic death last year. However, it looks like Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, has not agreed to renew the contract with Nike, and the relationship is ‘over’.
At 6:36 AM today I received a text:
“Vanessa Bryant did not renew contract. Kobe and Nike are done.”
I’ve been working since to confirm what this means ahead for the Nike / Kobe Bryant partnership.
As of right now — there is no ongoing contract for future Kobe releases. pic.twitter.com/5vuyQg6Gw6
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) April 19, 2021
Nike reportedly does have more Kobe shoes expected to launch in 2021, but they’ll be expiring the deal after those projects are finished.
Kobe Bryant had been a Nike athlete from 2003 up until his death last year, but it was reported that he was fed up with the brand in the months leading up to his horrific helicopter crash.
I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn’t happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020. Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players. He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career.
— Shervin Pishevar (@shervin) December 29, 2020
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Maybe Vanessa Bryant was aware of Kobe’s desire to get out of his Nike deal, and was doing what she knows he would have wanted. Or maybe it was just time for the partnership to end.
Either way, it looks like Nike will have to plan for a future with making Kobe shoes.