Nike’s Shoe Deal with the Late Kobe Bryant Expires, Not Extended
As of this month, Kobe Bryant’s five-year, post-retirement endorsement deal with Nike has come to an end.
The partnership between both sides will not be renewed.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant told ESPN. “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. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
According to sources close to the situation, the Bryant family has grown frustrated with Nike for limiting the availability of Kobe products following his retirement. The level of frustration grew even further after Bryant’s untimely and tragic death in January of last year. The Bryant family also pushed for a “lifetime” structure with Nike, similar to the contracts held by Michael Jordan and LeBron James, but Nike refused.
“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” Vanessa Bryant said. “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.”
With the partnership now over, Nike will halt the production of Kobe Bryant products.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike told ESPN in a statement. “He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
There has been no word as of this time whether the Bryant family will look for a new partnership with other sneaker brands.