Vanessa Bryant has been keeping her late husband Kobe Bryant’s legacy going, especially with brand partnerships. Yet, on Monday the 38-year-old announced on Instagram that the NBA player’s Nike contract expired and she’s not renewing it.
Bryant reposted an ESPN article on her Instagram stories telling the news and followed by that, she wrote on her stories why she decided not to renew the contract with Nike to her 14.6 million followers.
“Kobe‘s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” the slide began. “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. My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” 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,” she wrote.
Nike also had a statement shared by Bleacher Report Kicks Twitter page. It read, “Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. 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.”
Statement from Nike: “Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. 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.” pic.twitter.com/zSOVAJfD6n— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) April 20, 2021
According to an ESPN story written by Nick DePaula, Bryant and his family “had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe product during his retirement.”
According to Complex, “Bryant, they say, was a low priority at Nike‘s basketball division at the time, his shoes not warranting the marketing attention the brand was giving to its active NBA stars with signature lines like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James.”
Apparently Bryant wasn’t happy with Nike and was planning on starting his own shoe company in 2020 prior to his passing.