$160 Billion-Plus Company Gets Ready for Massive Kobe Bryant’s Famous Line Relaunch – What Is the Significance Behind Each Iconic Sneaker?

Published 07/16/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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The NBA world stood stunned when news of Kobe Bryant’s premature demise hit the airways. Almost 3 years later, the news is as harrowing as the day of the incident. However, the world has collectively tried to move on. While each tribute tugs at the heartstrings, moving on has been the key. Vanessa Bryant recently celebrated her daughter’s birthday at Disneyland. This came in between two separate court cases, both of which saw Lady Bryant prevail. Tributes from players around the league remain touching.

LeBron James, who started wearing a finger sleeve with the number 24 on it, still puts it on for each match. While the weeks, months, and years haven’t been easy on the NBA world, we’ve come to a point where we look back at Kobe with pride. In lieu of these events, Kobe’s decades-long partnership with Nike came to the forefront. In 2018, the two launched a brand-new line of his signature shoes. Called the Protro, the line was an ode to retro Kobe sneakers, released for performance metrics.

History of the Protro


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The 2018 design came from the Kobe 1. Since then, the $166 billion giant has updated the Kobe 4, Kobe 5 and Kobe 6. Over the years, Kobe’s shoes have become increasingly popular among NBA players. The Protro line has a lot of followers as well.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis and Kobe Bryant disciples like Devin Booker and DeMar DeRozan regularly sport the Protro line. And finally, basketball fans the world over have something to look forward to.


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On Mamba Day, August 24th, 2023, the Kobe Protro line returns. The first release will be the iconic Kobe 8s coming in as Kobe 8 Protro ‘Triple White’.

Kobe 8 Protro Triple White

The first release in the relaunch of the Kobe Protro line, the Kobe 8 was synonymous with the latter stages of the Mamba’s career. In his last truly sensational season, 2011-2012, Bryant sported the Kobe 8s. The shoes also made an appearance during the 2012 London Olympics.

The sneaker features an all-white engineered-mesh upper with pebbled leather overlays on the toe box and heel counter. The tongue and lateral side have embroidered Nike and Kobe logos in silver, while the heel cage spells out ‘Kobe’ in braille. The all-white shoe is reminiscent of an angel or a dove, as an homage to the late great Kobe Bryant.

Next in line for Kobe lovers was an exclusive look by Vanessa Bryant – in the 2023 holidays, one of the most iconic Kobe shoes makes a return.

Kobe 6 Protro Reverse Grinch PE

One of the most famous of Kobe’s legendary shoe collection, the Kobe 6 Proto Grinch was famous for its vibrant green and red shades. However, this time around there is a change on our hands. The Reverse Grinch PE releases in December 2023 and has a reverse color scheme.

The entire faux-snakeskin upper, mesh tongue and TPU come in red shades, while the laces and the Mamba logo take the vibrant green hue. A nod to the Dr. Seuss character, the PE will feature a painted-on black Nike Swoosh.

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Rumored to release on December 16th, fans may have gotten a taste of these beauties when being sported by shoe-collecting expert PJ Tucker, and Lakers big man Anthony Davis. But that’s not all folks. The line has some big releases lined up for 2024 as well.

Nike Kobe 8 Protro ‘White Court Purple’

While spring 2024 seems to be the release date, according to SOLE RETRIEVER, fans of the Kobe 8 can check out another colorway for the shoe. Once the release of the Triple White is done and dusted, the Kobe 8 will see a White Court Purple version, an ode to an iconic Lakers uniform.

The mesh upper is white engineered, which gets a sleek contrast with court-purple accents placed strategically on the sock liner and heel overlay – and the iconic Swoosh. The laces and tongue feature the same tonal white while the sole covers both white and purple.

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Additionally, the lateral heel will feature a Kobe Bryant signature and a smaller Swoosh on the leather medial collar. The colors were chosen specifically to honor the Lakers’ Sunday White, a jersey that has been around since the ’80s.

However, the White Court Purple isn’t coming alone.

Nike Kobe 8 Protro White Radiant Emerald

Joining the ‘White Court Purple’ is the White Radiant Emerald. Another color change for the Kobe 8 Protro, the shoe will be another white-based rendition of the Kobe 8. Also slated to release in Spring 2024, the colorway offers a variety to the shoe for sneakerheads.

Similar to the Purple variation, the Radiant Emerald also features an all-white engineered mesh upper. The same theme carries over to the tongue and lacing system However, the color pop comes in with the Kobe logo on the tongue and the sock liner.

Further, the emerald hue extends to the Swoosh and heel overlay, enhancing its appeal. The special tributes to Bryant include his signature on the lateral heel, similar to the White Court Purple. Additionally, the logo debossed into the foam midsole completes the look.


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The future

Thanks to an agreement between Vanessa Bryant and Nike, Kobe apparel is coming back. As a result, fans around the world can be sure to check out the products as and when they release. However, what bears special significance is that these aren’t the only shoes Nike could potentially release.

Out of the 11 Kobe signature shoes, just a few have seen a Protro version. So, the scope of possibilities remains endless. And, with the release of the Kobe 6 Proto Reverse Grinch PE, it seems like reruns in different colorways remain an option for Nike.


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Watch This Story: “He Passed That Sunday”: Shaquille O’Neal 66YO Buddy Reminisces the “Surreal” Moment When the World Lost NBA Legend Kobe Bryant

With the Kobe line one of the most successful in the brand’s history, there should be no shortage of potential ideas to craft elegant excellence-oriented kicks. Until then, Mamba out.


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Priyanshu Choudhary is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. Basketball has been his favorite sport for over a decade, and he has written close to 300 articles. If asked what he loves about the sport, Priyanshu would cite the technique, the breakdown, the ebb and flow and the theatrics that have endeared him since 2009.
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Edited by:

Aayush Kapoor