Nike Zoom Kobe 5 Bruce Lee 2010
One of Kobes biggest influences was another master of their respective field, Bruce Lee. In 2010, Kobe and Nike paid tribute to the master of martial arts with this colorway inspired by Lees jumpsuit in Enter the Dragon.
Featuring a lightweight build crafted with Nikes new-at-the-time Flywire technology, the Kobe 5 Bruce Lee featured a foam midsole, Zoom Air cushioning, and a silver-lined Swoosh over a loud yellow and black colorway.
Why Is This Important
This is significant news in the sneaker world and for Kobe Bryant fans across the globe.
Bryants sneakers with Nike created a huge impact on the company from the day he signed his contract in 2003. His products with Nike had an immense influence that extended from his Hall of Fame career in the NBA, to a culture on the streets for the basketball community.
Take for example, Mamba Day, which takes place every year on Aug. 24 and features fans of Bryant wearing their signature Nike shoes and gear in celebration of Bryant. It represents a day of cultural camaraderie for people across the globe, showcasing their clean kicks and love for Bryant as a community.
Bryants sneakers also remain one of the most worn pair of kicks in the NBA. That isnt going to change at all because of this move, which shows even further the everlasting impact he has on the game.
Denver Nuggets forward Jarred Vanderbilt wears a pair of Nike Mamba basketball shoes customized with the likeness of Kobe Bryant in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Denver. APAP
This, unfortunately, also will likely raise re-sell prices on Bryants Nike gear for resellers, who took advantage of limited Bryant releases on the app to make a profit.
Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Grinch 2010
Quite possibly the most iconic signature sneaker in the whole Kobe lineage, 2010s Grinch is still highly coveted amongst sneakerheads, and for the first time, the decade-old colorway was re-released in 2020, predictably selling out in minutes. It wasnt easy an easy pair to cop, but the people who were able to score a fresh pair of Grinches last year realized one of their wildest sneakerhead dreams, and thats a beautiful thing.
Featuring a bright Volt Green colorway with a translucent outsole, crimson red accents, and a synthetic upper, the Grinch wasnt the official name given to the shoe by Nike. They called this colorway Green Mamba, in reference to the polyurethane scales that mimicked snakeskin on the shoes base and Bryants Mamba persona.
But given the sneakers holiday release date, and its resemblance to the iconic Dr. Seuss character, the fans saw fit to rename it, and the shoe is more recognizable for it.
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Nike Zoom Kobe 4 Protro Del Sol 2019
A late classic in the Kobe line, the Zoom Kobe Protro Del Sols colorway was chosen to mimic the same exact pair Kobe rocked as the Lakers paraded through the streets of L.A. celebrating their 2009 championship win.
Even if Kobe didnt score his fourth championship ring wearing this pair of sneakers, it would still likely go down as one of the best colorways the Kobe 4 would ever see thanks to its mix of white, black, and gold.
Kobe Bryant Started Out Endorsing Adidas
Kobe Bryant was 18 years old when he entered the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers straight out of high school. Before even his debut, Bryant signed a six-year contract to wear and endorse Adidas shoes. By his fourth season in the NBA, Bryant was already averaging 22.5 points a game, and he did not slip from that figure for the next 13 seasons.
Along the way, he picked up numerous other deals with major companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Nintendo. Many dropped Bryant following a rape accusation in the summer of 2003. One that didnt let him go was Nike, with whom Bryant had signed following the expiration of his Adidas deal.
Nike put his ad campaign on hold until the criminal charges were dropped, but The Associated Press noted the reappearance of his picture in ads beginning in July 2005. The relationship was a financial bonanza for both parties. Even in retirement, their arrangement remained in place, and the Bryant line of shoes remained among Nikes most popular.
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Kuzma Upset With How Nike Treat Kobe Bryant Shoes
The Kobes were Nikes top selling shoes and merchandise only behind Jordan. Te Mambas impact stretched beyond basketball, giving Nike a big boost. Likewise, the brand wanted to keep the Kobe brand going. However, Vanessa Bryant ended the partnership between the brand. This caused an instant stop in the production of Kobe merchandise.
The main affected through this were players. With so many wearing the Kobes, they are now struggling to get them. Buying from a secondary market, the prices take a big hike. Kuzma took to twitter to put forward his disappointment regarding the way Nike handled the situation with Kobe Bryant.
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People started making money off Kobe Bryant hours after he died in a helicopter crash. On the afternoon of January 26, the basketball legend was killed, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash. When TMZ broke the news of Bryants death, friends and fans mourned the NBA legend. Almost immediately, the market for Kobe Bryant merchandise, from classic sneakers to homemade tees, skyrocketed.
On January 26 at 4:09 pm EST, a size 9 Kobe 4 Protro Undefeated in the Los Angeles Lakers colorway sold for $945 on StockX these sneakers sold for $190 retail.
On January 28, I was covering a Donald Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Alongside shirts where Baby Yoda wears a MAGA hat, vendors were selling bootleg Mamba Out and other Kobe memorial shirts.
Ive seen T-shirts with Kobe and Giannas faces for sale on street corners and road medians. In the weeks after the crash, they were for sale outside a Sixers game in Philly and outside an Islanders hockey game in Brooklyn. Stores online sold Kobe-inspired gear. In Los Angeles, vendors selling Kobe Bryant memorial merchandise lined Figueroa Street near the Lakers arena.
There was a run in legitimate merchandise as well. Nike sold out of Bryant merch online and did not restock it.
A post shared by Jack on Feb 5, 2020 at 5:34am PST
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Vanessa Bryant Says She Didnt Ok Nikes Kobe 6 Mambacita Sneaker
Despite Kobe’s Nike contract expiring, the sneaker is still believed to release soon.
Earlier this spring, the estate of Kobe Bryant allowed his contract with Nike to expire and ended a partnership that had dated back to 2003. Kobe had reportedly been unhappy with the sneaker giant prior to his and his daughter Gigiâs untimely death in 2020 and had been considering starting his own athletic brand once his contractual obligations were fulfilled. His wife Vanessa had been hoping to sign a lifetime deal with Nike on par with those of Michael Jordan and LeBron James, but the two parties werenât able to agree on terms before the then-current deal expired.
If Vanessa was dissatisfied with Nike before, she has even more reason to be upset now. The widow to reveal she never approved the Kobe 6 Protro âMambacita,â of which images first surfaced in May. Nike has yet to officially confirm a release for the shoe, but Vanessa spoke out after becoming aware that others had already got their hands on the sneakers.
Nike has already released another Kobe â Despite no longer having a contract with the estate of Kobe, Nike and Undefeated released a collaborative Kobe 5 Protro âHall of Fameâ to coincide with his posthumous induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. If the Kobe 6 Protro âMambacita,â also known as âMamba Forever,â does go on to release, itâll be the second sneaker to release after the contract expired â and possibly the last.
Kobe Bryant Noted Retiree Gets A New Nike Shoe
Nike is releasing a new shoe from an old pro. Yesterday, Toronto Raptor star and fringe MVP candidate DeMar DeRozan debuted a new pair of shoes from retired Laker legend Kobe Bryant. Even though Kobes most recent signature achievement is winning an Oscar for an animated short about his goodbye to basketball, Nike hasnt stopped cashing in on his enduring celebrity.
The Kobe A.D. NXT 360 worn by DeRozan is the third model from Nike’s Kobe A.D. line that originally debuted in November 2016. The A.D. line represents Kobe’s 12th signature shoe with the Swoosh, and the first released since the former Lakers retirement. And because a retired Bryant cant wear it, Nikes used high-profile fans of the Mambaand ones who mirror his guns-blazing playing styleas stand-ins. Last year, then-Boston Celtic Isiah Thomas got, fittingly, a Shamrock-green version of the Kobes. Now its Kobe superfan DeRozan promoting a new, much more minimalist version of the sneaker. And along the way Nikes released plenty of colorways for the shoe, from Port Wine and a lemon-lime Gatorade-looking shade named Volt.
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Kobe Bryant’s Estate Ends 18
Kobe Bryant’s contract with Nike has expired after 18 years, the company and the late NBA legend’s wife Vanessa Bryant announced Monday.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better,” Nike said in a statement. “Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
In 2003, Bryant left Adidas and became one of the most sought-after free agents in modern sports. The Los Angeles Lakers swingman eventually signed with Nike and released 11 signature shoes with the sportswear giant. After retiring in 2016, Bryant reportedly re-signed with Nike for a five-year extension.
His wife, Vanessa Bryant, said the contract expired on April 13 and said she hopes all fans will be able to wear Kobe’s shoes. After his death last year, resellers drove up the price of Kobe’s signature shoes and flocked to Nike’s limited releases of his sneakers a common source of frustration among many basketball fans.
“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,” she wrote on Instagram on Monday night. “It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”
Where Does This Go From Here
There are a couple of different scenarios for how things proceed.
First, its important to know that Nike Kobes could be done for good. DePaulas report mentions that it is believed that all future releases of Kobe sneakers and apparel by Nike will be halted. The last Nike and Kobe launch was an exclusive re-stock of the Grinch Kobe 6, a shoe from 2010 that was re-released for the first time in December 2020. Limited pairs were stocked again only on the SNKRS app April 13.
There is still hope that the two sides can form a reunion. Its hard to think of the Kobe sneaker brand without Nike, and its difficult to image the estate endorsing and designing a whole new sneaker without Bryants detailed input.
At the same time, think about this: When was the last time Nike made a sneaker that was highly in-demand so widely available and accessible for customers? Thats the most important factor for the Bryant estate in this situation, and I dont think Nike will be willing to change its plans to make merchandise accessible when they thrive off limited quantities.
A reunion with Adidas is a good possibility, too. Before signing with Nike, Bryant initially partnered with Adidas at age 17, signing a six-year deal, before reportedly paying to exit the deal in 2002 to sign with Nike. The brand could be an interesting fit to re-release original Kobe sneakers if it can provide higher availability for customers.
— Aron Yohannes
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The 10 Best Kobe Bryant Signature Nikes Of All Time
Kobe Bryants signature Nike sneakers dont seem to carry the same kind of cultural weight as the Air Jordan does outside of your average sneakerhead. If you gift any of your friends a random pair of Air Jordans for Christmas, there is a chance theyll recognize them as a pair of Jordans, but hand an unsuspecting friend a Kobe Protro IV, and theyll probably just think you got them a new pair of running shoes.
Dont get us wrong, a Kobe branded sneaker will still sell out instantly , there just isnt an endless line of celebrities or streetwear brands clamoring to redesign a Kobe VI the way there is a regular rotation of new colorways for the Jordan I, III, IV, V, and beyond week after week.
Thats because Kobes signature silhouettes resonate with a different audience entirely: people who, like Kobe himself, live, love, and breathe for the game. The people who strive to live with that Mamba mentality.
Im not just talking about the people who play at the park every weekend, Im talking about professional ballplayers. Year after year, Kobes sneakers are routinely the most worn sneakers in the NBA. That has less to do with the way they look and more to do with the way theyre constructed.
Lets run through a few of the most essential Nike Kobe colorways and designs.
Kobe Bryants Nike Contract Expired The Implications Are Complex
The end of the deal has no analogue in basketball or sneaker history, opening a hole in the market as Bryants shoes have been used heavily by N.B.A. athletes and have seen high demand among the public since his death.
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By Kevin Draper
The most popular shoes on the N.B.A. hardwood for the last several seasons were not the signature sneakers endorsed by the top active players, like Nikes LeBron James or Adidass Damian Lillard. They were not the shoes endorsed by the man who practically invented the modern sneaker game, Michael Jordan.
Instead they were Nikes line of Kobe Bryants signature sneakers, which were worn by 103 players last season about 20 percent of the leagues players according to the sneaker website Baller Shoes DB. Many W.N.B.A. players, like the Seattle Storms Jewell Loyd, also wear Bryants signature sneakers.
But soon those players will need to find new shoes, at least if they want to play in brand-new pairs. Nike confirmed Monday that its contract with the estate of Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last year, expired last week.
Nike has a short window in which it can continue selling the shoes and apparel featuring Bryant that it has already manufactured, but soon that merchandise will disappear from Nikes website and store shelves.
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Vanessa Bryant Kobe Bryant Estate Elect Not To Renew Partnership With Nike
With Kobe Bryant’s five-year, post-retirement endorsement extension with Nike having expired this month, Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate elected not to renew the partnership, she confirmed to ESPN in a statement Monday night.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Lakers legend, 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 a source, Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids’ sizes, according to sources.
Nike, sources said, had presented an extension offer that was not in line with expectations of an ongoing “lifetime” structure similar to the Nike Inc. contracts held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Vanessa Bryant Kobe Estate End Run With Nike273dnick Depaula
The heel counter features the names “Kobe” and “Gigi” on opposite shoes, along with the “Mamba M” logo that the Kobe Bryant Estate fully owns the rights to. The Kobe Bryant Estate has also filed for trademarks in the footwear and clothing sector for additional terms like “Mambacita,” “Mamba League,” “Lil’ Mambas,” “Kobe Bryant,” “Play Gigi’s Way” and others.
The shoes, created after the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash that killed Bryant, Gianna and seven other passengers, were intended to raise funds for the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation and to support youth girls sports initiatives, Vanessa Bryant said.
The confusion around the potential release of the shoes stems from a variety of calendar quirks surrounding the footwear manufacturer’s timeline, detailed contract clauses heading into the expiration window and a crucial shipping error both to and from a UK-based official Nike retailer.
The shoes were in fact not officially released as Nike does not plan to do so until a new agreement is reached with Vanessa and the Kobe Bryant Estate, according to sources.
Nike officials were not available for comment when contacted by ESPN. Contacted for further comment, Vanessa Bryant was unavailable. She celebrated her daughter Natalia’s high school graduation this weekend.
The POP colorway has largely been expected to be the last Nike Kobe release for the foreseeable future, while contract negotiations continue.
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