“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant said in an Instagram post yesterday night. “Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time… 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.”
The resale market is reflecting the Laker legend’s continuing popularity. On Christmas Eve last year, Nike rereleased one of Bryant’s most coveted editions of the Nike Zoom Kobe 6, the “Grinch,” a lime green pair that Bryant donned on Christmas day in 2010. Some fans were able to purchase the kicks but most missed out. Four months later the company restocked the Grinch Kobes and released them on the day Bryant’s contract expired with Nike.
In light of yesterday’s news, the 2020 Kobe 6 Grinch prices on popular reseller site StockX have skyrocketed. Before the deal, prices in a men’s size 9 ranged anywhere from $350 to $390. Currently the last five sales have been $592, $596, $595, $596 and $600. After taxes, processing and shipping fees the shoe would cost upwards of $650. Other Kobe sneakers are seeing a similar trend.
Nike began releasing retro Kobe Bryant sneakers last Aug. 23. The company spent a week commemorating Bryant by releasing special edition shoes and apparel. Fans and scalpers alike were hoping to get their hands on them, but as for most of Nike’s retro Air Jordan releases, supply was limited and demand was high, causing there to be even more craze around each release.
Vanessa Bryant had hoped to work with Nike to help more fans have a better chance to purchase her husband’s kicks. Following the Grinch release in 2020, she said in an Instagram post: “Hi Guys! I heard that fans are having a hard time buying Kobe’s online. I reached out to Nike and I wanted to do something cool for fans to have a better opportunity to get some Kobe’s. Unfortunately covid shut down those plans. We came up with an idea and we’re waiting for covid stay at home orders to lift. Stay tuned. Happy Holidays.”
With the deal expiring last week, it doesn’t appear that any of the plans ever worked out.
“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” she said on Instagram yesterday. “We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
Nike acknowledged the end of the deal, saying in a statement: “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.”