Nike, Bryant estate reach deal to resume partnership: report

The announcement came nearly a year after Nike's contract with the late Los Angeles Lakers legend expired

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant’s estate has reached a new deal with Nike, allowing his signature shoes to once again be produced by the company.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Vanessa Bryant announced that the estate entered into a new partnership with Nike to honor the legacy of her late husband and daughter Gianna. 

"We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue! I am so proud that my husband's shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world," Bryant wrote.


Former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch during the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Nike will re-release 11 signature Kobe models worn by Bryant during his NBA career, ESPN reported. The company will also launch a new Gianna Bryant shoe series.

Vanessa Bryant wrote that Nike will donate 100% of the net proceeds from Gianna's shoes to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded through the loving memory of her late husband and daughter.

"I am also grateful that Nike and I will work together to establish a youth basketball center in Southern California that will share the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come," she wrote. "I know this is an inspiring moment for my husband and daughter's global fans, and I am very appreciative of each and every one of you!"

The announcement came nearly a year after Nike's contract with the late Los Angeles Lakers legend expired. Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant’s estate decided not to extend their partnership with the company last year due to several differences between the two sides.

Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Vanessa Bryant took to social media at the time to release a statement confirming an end to the nearly 20 year-long partnership.

"Kobe's Nike contract expired on 4/13/21," her statement read. "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."


She continued: "My hope will always be to allow Kobe's fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that. Kobe's products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband's legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi's legacies. That will never change."

Sources told ESPN that Bryant and the estate were frustrated with the limited availability of Byrant’s products and more significantly, that Nike presented them with an offer that was not in line with the expectations of a "lifetime" deal -- similar to those of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. 

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant smiles as he jogs to the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

"Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family," Nike told Fox Business in a statement. 

On Thursday, Nike said it was pleased to announce "a new chapter of collaborating" with the Bryant family, which the company said would "inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage youth participation in sport."

"Kobe Bryant means so much to so many of us, not just NBA fans but globally beyond the game," Nike's President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement. "His impact in growing the sport, particularly encouraging women and young people to pick it up, endures as one of his deepest, lasting legacies. Together with Vanessa, we hope to honor Kobe and Gigi by championing a new generation for many years to come."

Kobe Bryant, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a January 2020 helicopter crash in California. 

Bryant originally signed with Nike in 2003.

Fox Business's Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report