For the past 18 years, Kobe Bryant has been with Nike. It’s been so long that there’s a whole generation that doesn’t know that Bryant was an Adidas signature athlete for the first six years of his NBA career. Their names and brands are synonymous.
Now, unless Nike and Bryant’s estate can make up at the last-minute like Disney and Sony for the the Spider-Verse, that partnership will come to an end because the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract renewal earlier this week. That means the Kobes that Nike is scheduled to release later this year could be the last Kobes Nike ever makes or sells again.
That’s obviously bad news for Bryant’s fans, or at least the few that have been able to get their hands on his sneakers in aftermath of his tragic death, but it’s also bad news for the players in the NBA that prefer to play in Kobes, like Lakers sophomore Talen Horton-Tucker.
“It was very surprising for me,” Horton-Tucker said on Monday. “You know, I play in Kobes, I’ve played in Kobes all year, and I’m going to continue playing in them, but it’s just crazy — it’s a crazy thing. With everything that’s going on, it’s kind of unfortunate, but I guess I’ve got to figure something out now.
“I’m putting a call out to everybody right now: whoever can get me any Kobes, I need them.”
Horton-Tucker isn’t the only Laker in the market for the soon-to-be discontinued sneakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who’s worn Kobes for the majority of his eight-year career, also plans on stocking up.
“First of all, I’m going to try and get a couple more pairs before they stop selling them,” Caldwell-Pope said. “The reaction that I had was I was shocked, I didn’t think that would happen, I thought they would continue to make shoes but I don’t know anything behind that, so when I saw it, I was just a little shocked.”
Bryant’s estate has filed for trademarks for footwear and apparel, according to Nice Kicks, but it’s unclear what their plans are at this time.
Kobe Bryant, LLC has filed trademarks for footwear and apparel. pic.twitter.com/s9OUuEEFxB— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) April 20, 2021
Even if there are plans to revive the Kobes with a different company, there’s no guarantee that they’ll feel the same as the old Kobes. In other words, if you can get your hands (or feet) on Kobes now, do it. We may not have another chance for a while.