Shohei Ohtani Avoids Kobe Bryant’s Widow’s Gift Due to Expensive New Balance Deal

Published 04/16/2024, 2:30 PM EDT

Follow Us

USA Today via Reuters

The Los Angeles Dodgers found some special gifts on Mamba Day. Every year on April 13, fans commemorate the late great Kobe Bryant. This time his wife Vanessa sent something really special for the Blue Crew—the limited edition Nike Kobe’s! However, while every player was beyond excited to get their hands on this work of art, one man was missing from the frame, Shohei Ohtani

Nike’s partnership with Kobe Bryant was beyond iconic. The NBA legend loved wearing these shoes because of their comfort and stability. As a result, this brand has become the holy grail for many basketball fans. For many, it holds almost the same stature as the Air Jordans do. Perhaps that’s why the Dodgers squad, including skipper Dave Roberts, almost had a fanboy moment when they first saw it. 

And as to why Shohei Ohtani was absent? That’s because he has recently signed a deal with New Balance. Shotime’s logo was released a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t well-received by the fans. Still, due to his professional commitments, the superstar couldn’t be seen publicly receiving and endorsing a rival brand’s shoes. Ohtani was the only one who was absent; there were other Dodgers who, too, missed this moment.


Article continues below this ad

Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor, and Freddie Freeman were also absent from the scene. Their reasons were similar to Ohtani’s. Kershaw and Taylor have a deal with Sketchers, while Freeman wears Under Armor. As a result, accepting Nike shoes on camera wouldn’t have been a good look for them. 

Still, it’s quite exciting to see basketball and baseball uniting for a moment. Fans aren’t ignorant about the rivalry between NBA and MLB. While these shoes were a beautiful gesture, another union took place in Dodger Stadium a few hours ago.


Article continues below this ad

Shohei Ohtani misses Kobe’s but meets Magic Johnson 

Shohei Ohtani sent his fans into a frenzy after he posted a story of himself with legendary Magic Johnson on his Instagram account. The NBA legend is part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and recently came to the stadium to watch their game. Here, the two biggest sporting icons had a chance to connect, and if the pictures are to be believed, they hit it off immediately.


Article continues below this ad

So, in a way, even though Ohtani missed a chance to hold those elusive Kobe’s, he was able to meet another legend of the sport. Perhaps that’s what sports needs more of; icons spending time with each other. Even if he was a few days late, Ohtani’s Mamba Day too proved to be quite a happening event for his fans. 


Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us


Written by:

Sanskar Dubey


One take at a time

Sanskar Dubey is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. From writing various aspects of baseball like MLB Rule Modifications to diving deep into the world of minor and major leagues, Sanskar covers it all. He loves to write for the sport when there is a hot tussle between the National League and American League throughout the season.
Show More>