This past spring, Nike and Vanessa Bryant came to an agreement that would see the Kobe Bryant line return to the company and resume production. On Monday, Nike also reportedly found its new face of the line in DeMar DeRozan, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Fresh off making All-NBA second team, Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is signing a new four-year deal with Nike that keeps him as the featured face of Kobe Bryant’s iconic line, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 1, 2022
Few players in the NBA have worn more varieties of Kobes than DeRozan during his career, and especially in recent years. DeRozan’s collection of Kobes ranges from rare, to custom, to even unreleased versions of the late Laker great’s signature shoe.
In that sense, there is hardly anyone to be a better front man for the Kobe line than DeRozan. On top of that, DeRozan’s status as a mid-range master and a Los Angeles native only further serves as reason to make him the face of Kobes for Nike.
For the better part of a year, Nike and Vanessa Bryant had no deal. The two sides could not come to an agreement on an extension in the spring of 2021. A year later, a deal was finally reached, though it didn’t exactly change some of the most prevalent issues with acquiring the shoes.
Nonetheless, bringing in DeRozan is a positive, and making him the face of the brand moving forward is encouraging. DeRozan was close with Kobe himself and shared a fun story a couple of months after his passing about the Lakers superstar being upset when DeRozan didn’t wear Kobes during a game against him.
When Kobe issued his memorable challenges in 2017, DeRozan was the recipient of one with Bryant encouraging him to reconnect with his hometown of Compton.
Ultimately, he did reconnect with his Compton roots and has spoken a number of times about growing up there.
For a whole host of reasons, DeRozan, then, is a completely sensible choice to carry the mantle of Nike’s Kobe-branded shoes.