Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Ends Relationship With Nike After They Reportedly Low-Balled Her and Slacked On Kobe Products

Photo via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant announced that she chose not to renew the Bryant estate’s contract with Nike. Nike will no longer release Kobe products. Vanessa Bryant took to Twitter to announce the news.

In a statement, Vanessa Bryant said that she had been “hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy.” But apparently, the brand didn’t want to play ball.

“Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe,” Vanessa said. “It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”

She continued: “My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”

To some fans, Vanessa’s statement left them feeling like the Bryant estate and Nike ended on less-than-friendly terms.

https://twitter.com/NBAKicks/status/1381986843206373383?s=20

The specific language Vanessa used in the statement betrayed the fact that Nike didn’t offer the Bryant estate the contract that they had been hoping for. The fact that she said she had been “hoping to form a lifelong partnership” and she will “fight” for Kobe’s fans means that Nike fell short of her expectations.

Per ESPN, Nike presented Vanessa with a contract that “was not in line” with similar contracts they had offered comparable players, like Michael Jordan and LeBron James. So basically, Nike was trying to lowball Vanessa and the Bryant estate.

Insiders say that another reason that Vanessa declined to renew the partnership was because Nike was slacking on the Kobe line.

For a while now, customers have been struggling to find Kobe footwear products on the open market. Instead, they’ve been forced to buy the products at super-marked-up resell markets.

Also per ESPN: “Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids’ sizes, according to sources.”

For the most part, Kobe fans rallied around Vanessa Bryant’s decision not to renew a partnership with Nike.

According to rumblings on Twitter, it appears that Nike was profiting off of Kobe Bryant’s death because of the large uptick in in sales after his death.

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Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

Entertainment

Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

A little over a year has passed since the tragic news of NBA star Kobe Bryant’s death made headlines. The shooting guard‘s sudden death in Calabasas, California, rocked the worlds of his family, friends, former teammates, and many of his fans. On Feb. 24, a public memorial service held at Staples Center saw various people in his life give speeches, including his wife Vanessa Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and his longtime friend and rival Michael Jordan. The former Chicago Bulls player gave a heart-rendering speech filled with fond memories of Bryant and tears. A year later, the former shooting guard admits that he still gets choked up when he remembered Bryant.

According to Jordan, he becomes particularly emotional when reflecting on the 17-month old text messages between him and his old friend.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jordan revealed that his final messages with Bryant were about family, basketball, and tequila.

In a series of text messages that took place weeks before Bryant’s death, Jordan says that he and the late basketball icon spoke about their family and good tequila. The two basketball players last texted seven weeks before Bryant’s death on Dec. 8, 2019.

“This tequila is awesome,” Bryant wrote in a text to Jordan. The message was about Jordan’s tequila brand, which he had sent to his formal rival.

In response, Jordan said, “Thank you, my brother.”

Bryant: “Yes, sir. Family good?”

Jordan: “All good. Yours?”

Bryant “All good.”

“He was just so happy,” Jordan explained to MacMullan. “He was doing so well.”

Jordan explained in his interview that at this point in his life, Bryant was fully invested in coaching his late daughter Gigi.

“Happy holidays,” Jordan went onto text Bryant in the message string, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”

Bryant replied, “Ah, back at you, man. Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”

Jordan explained that Bryant had found so much joy in coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

Speaking about the text thread, Jordan told ESPN, “I just love that text, because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”

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Vanessa Bryant Wishes Gianna Happy Birthday On What Would Have Been Her Late Daughter’s 15th Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Wishes Gianna Happy Birthday On What Would Have Been Her Late Daughter’s 15th Birthday

Photo via vanessabryant/Instagram

The grieving process continues for Vanessa Bryant on her daughter, Gianna’s, birthday. If you have lost a loved one, you know that milestones like anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays can be especially hard. Days that would’ve been joyful in the past become bittersweet at best, and unbearable at worst.

On Friday, Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram to pay tribute to her late daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, who passed away last January in a tragic helicopter accident.

Vanessa Bryant posted a throwback photo of her and Gigi from years ago. A young Gigi sits in her mother’s lap. Vanessa’s arms are wrapped around her young daughter.

Vanessa Bryant’s birthday tribute to Gigi was short and sweet: “Dear Gianna, Happy 15th Birthday! [heart emoji] [kiss emoji] I love you! I miss you everyday! I wish you were here with us. There are no words to express how much I miss you. I love you Mamacita!”

Then, Vanessa Bryant tagged the birthday post #Quincenera, #Principessa and #Mambacita. As you may know, Gianna Bryant was dubbed “mambacita” because she loved basketball just as much as her father, the Black Mamba himself.

Just last month, Vanessa Bryant also celebrated what would have been her 20th anniversary with her late husband, Kobe Bryant.

On April 18th, Vanessa Bryant posted a beautiful photo of her and Kobe on their wedding day. “Happy Anniversary, baby. I love you. 20 years,” she wrote.

By publicly acknowledging Gigi Bryant’s 15th birthday even though she’s no longer here, Vanessa Bryant is doing exactly what grief counselors suggest. “Don’t ever feel you have to apologize for grieving. It’s what you need to do, even if it makes others uncomfortable, and you’re apology is unnecessary,” says renowned grief counselor Dr. Ken Druck.

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