Nike and Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the late NBA icon Kobe Bryant, have entered into a partnership.
As Footwear News reports, the athletic giant announced late Thursday that a new chapter of collaborating with the Bryant family has begun, and that in partnership with Vanessa Bryant, they will work together to “inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sport.”
This partnership, Nike confirmed via statement, will yield the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” court-ready basketball sneaker that will honor the late daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant. All proceeds from the shoe, according to Nike, will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
“I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi’s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” Vanessa Bryant said in a statement.
Although Nike stated the shoe will release, the brand said information for the drop will be shared at a later date.
What’s more, Nike said it will work with Vanessa Bryant to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California, and that they will continue to outfit “the NBA and WNBA athletes who carry the legacy of the Mamba Mentality.”
“Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game,” Nike Inc. president and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement. “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.”
This partnership marks the return of the Bryant family working with Nike, as the deal with between the brand and Kobe Bryant ended in April 2021. After Nike confirmed the deal had come to an end, Vanessa Bryant wrote via Instagram that she hoped her late husband’s fans would always have the ability to purchase his products.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” the Instagram stories post said. “Kobe and Nike 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. 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.”