After parting ways in 2021, Vanessa Bryant announced on Instagram on Thursday afternoon that she had reached a deal with Nike to renew a partnership between the two parties. On top of the return of Kobe shoes, there will also be Gianna products released as well, including the first new Kobe release in the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16.”
Huge news from Vanessa Bryant on a new partnership with Nike to provide "Kobe and Gigi Nike products" pic.twitter.com/OClkgoaAQr— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) March 24, 2022
In the release from Nike announcing the partnership, president and CEO John Donahoe had the following quote:
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game. His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come.”
Along with the new products being released, the yearly net proceeds of the Gianna shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. At the same time, Vanessa and Nike will work together to create a youth basketball center in Southern California.
When the partnership between the two sides ended in 2021, at least part of the reasoning from Vanessa and the Bryant family was frustration on the lack of availability of Kobe’s signature shoes. The exclusivity of those products created a very toxic and perverse environment with resellers effectively profiting off of the death of Kobe by charging exorbitant amounts for the shoes.
While not explicitly stated in the release or by Vanessa, it seems reasonable that this would be a topic of conversation in their discussion before agreeing on a deal, potentially setting up a situation with more accessibility to new products for Kobe and Gianna that is accessible to all fans and not just those with bots on the SNKRS app.
Most importantly, though, it’s great to see the two sides come back together and reach an agreement that allows both Kobe and Gianna to be honored while also having plenty of other tremendous benefits to go along with the partnership. Tremendous news all-around.
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