Kobe Bryant’s Nike Deal Has Reportedly Come to an End
Nike’s long-time partnership with the late Kobe Bryant looks to be over. According to reports from Complex, Bryant’s estate has not renewed the Nike deal, which expired on April 13, 2021. The decision could spell the end of the historic sponsorship stanza, which led to the creation of some of the most popular basketball sneakers of all time.
There are slim hopes that a new contract between the parties can be agreed upon, but signs suggest otherwise. Back in late 2020, venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar stated that Bryant wasn’t happy with his Nike deal before his passing, and had plans to leave the brand. Pishevar also stated that he’d met with the Laker legend a year earlier to discuss plans to start a new, player-owned independent sneaker company called ‘Mamba’, even going as far as to mock-up new sneaker models for the prospective brand.
More Kobe sneakers are scheduled to drop in 2021. However, expect these to be the last ever from the Swoosh stable.
Starting his career with adidas, Bryant would leave the brand to enter an infamous sneaker free-agency period, before eventually signing with Nike in 2003. Bryant’s time with Nike culminated in the release of 11 signature models.
In a statement, Nike said:
'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.'
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Nike statement on Kobe Bryant’s contract expiration:— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) April 20, 2021
“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.” https://t.co/3ndzFMbprq