Vanessa Bryant Ends Relationship With Nike After They Reportedly Low-Balled Her and Slacked On Kobe Products
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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.
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.
I like the Kobe Nikes for the most part but I hope the estate doesn’t renew anything with Nike. Nike limiting Kobe shoes and allowing and encouraging resell on them when they can just make pairs world wide is corny. Not just kicks but jerseys too. Smh.— idk, im just built different (@jesvswalks) April 20, 2021
This a good for her and her family, now she has the option to work with other companies that one to be part of the Mamba franchise. You never know if Kobe was alive it would have been a different story but now her and her daughters have the power to call the shots.— David Rivas (@drivasg7) April 20, 2021
Vanessa has been focusing on the lack of availability of Kobe products for a while now. She continues to mention it in this statement as well. The disagreement could only indicate that the problem are not the resellers but Nike itself who were afraid of saturating the market.— Gurangad singh (@gurangad_singh) April 20, 2021
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