‘Mind Boggling’: Olympic Gold Medalist Reacts to Kobe Bryant and Nike Parting Ways

Published 04/21/2021, 9:34 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts following the second half of the Nuggets 102-99 win in game five of their NBA playoff game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


It is rare to see Nike letting a star break away from its contract to join a competitor. However, ever since Kobe’s passing, it seemed a possibility that the company might not get to renew its contract with the Kobe Bryant estate. That’s exactly what happened as Vanessa Bryant released a statement putting a full stop to the 18-year long partnership.

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The demand for the Black Mamba’s signed shoes soared after his helicopter crash. Nike allegedly could not meet the availability and also failed to offer a lifetime deal Vanessa liked. So that is how it all ended, but how do other notable figures feel about the headline?

Vince Carter supported the decision of Kobe Bryant estate

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant before taking the court against Nuggets in Game 1 of the WC Finals. May 19, 2009 at the Staples Center. Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post (Photo By Tim Rasmussen/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The 8x NBA All-star and Kobe’s rival, Vince Carter, sat down for an interview where he reacted to the deal. The 44-YO retired athlete expressed, “This is everything. What Kobe has done for the game, what his shoes do for the game, people are always talking about, yo I’m gonna get the Kobes.”

The former Raptor then revealed how the Black Mamba gifted him one of those iconic pairs. He further added, “Kobe gifted me a pair of Kobe’s, I didn’t wear, obviously I had my own signature shoe at the time. I put those things right on the [indiscernible]. I was not wearing these things, but what it’s done for the game, it’s just amazing. [I] hope they’re able to work something out, lifetime deal is what I’m thinking. Him not being here anymore and to see these two go away from each other and part ways, it’s just mind-boggling.”

Apart from him, Monica McNutt, Zach Lowe, and Rachel Nichols also reacted. All that told, what are the other things revolving around this breakup?

Read AlsoNike Was Unwilling to Give Kobe Bryant Signature Line the Same Treatment as LeBron James and Michael Jordan

Vanessa Bryant might take everyone by surprise

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Last season, 53 NBA players wore the Kobe Proto 4s and another 31 players sported some other Kobe line. Regular users like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Talen Horton-Tucker would now want to stock up some of those before the market has nothing left (apart from bidding of course). 

Also, while Nike might shift its low-top focus on Giannis Antetokounmpo or Zion Williamson’s line, what are the plans of Vanessa Bryant? After Kobe Bryant’s death, several headlines clarified he was interested in introducing his own line. So now, if the potential lifetime deals from no other brand could impress Vanessa, they might take that route. 

An IP attorney, Mr. Josh Gerben had already revealed how KB estate has filed 13 trademarks since May 2020. These trademarks for Mambacita, Baby Mambas, Mamba League, Mamba, and Play Gigi’s Way make it sound more real that a new brand can enter the market.

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Should there be a tie-up or a brand new launch of the Mamba company? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1123 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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