Kyle Kuzma Blames Nike for Mismanagement of Kobe Bryant’s Shoe Deal

Published 11/11/2021, 9:38 PM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014 – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant listens as the National Anthem is sung by Jeffey Osborne at the season opener against the Rockets at Staples Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant left his legacy on the court. Scoring a blistering 60 points in his final game, he called off his career in a grand manner. However, his shoe deal with Nike remained intact five years after hanging his boots. While players fell in love with his shoes, the production had to stop. Recently, Kyle Kuzma reacted to the way Nike took care of the whole process.

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The Kobe’s are one of Nike’s most successful ventures to day. During the bubble season, over a third of the players wore Kobe’s. But after that, Bryant’s wife, Vanessa ended the deal with Nike. Thus, this brought about a stop to the production to the shoe that many players adored. Now, they are having a hard time to get their hands on their favorite Kobe shoes.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 19: Presenters Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryant announce the winner of Female Athlete of the Year during the 2017 USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards at J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live on November 19, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian)

Recently, Washington Wizards’ Kyle Kuzma reacted to this news on twitter.

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Kuzma upset with how Nike treat Kobe Bryant shoes

The Kobe’s were Nike’s top selling shoes and merchandise only behind Jordan. Te ‘Mamba’s 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 Kobe’s, 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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One of the reasons the production took a halt was because they couldn’t agree on certain terms. Notably, Nike refused to make Kobe Bryant a lifetime athlete after his death. His wife wanted to further grow Kobe’s legacy but Nike couldn’t comply with the requests. Hence, the contract between the two parties was terminated. However, today players are unable to get their hands Kobe’s.

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The main reason is Kobe introduced something new with the low top shoes. Players fell in love with those shoes and still continue to wear them on the court. However, with the expiration of the contract, the number of Kobe’s on court went down by a big margin. Do you think Nike could have done a better job to keep Kobe Bryant as an athlete? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

501 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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