The future of the Nike Kobe line, one of the oldest and most important signature sneaker series, is uncertain. The last deal in place between the late Kobe Bryant and Nike expired on April 13, 2021, and his estate has opted not to sign a new contract at this time. Nike confirmed to Complex via a statement this week that the deal was over, with Bryant’s wife Vanessa adding her own comment on the status of her husband’s endorsement deal via Instagram. It’s possible the parties will reach an agreement, but failure would mark the conclusion of Bryant’s long partnership with Nike that began in 2003. Bryant, or rather his estate, is essentially a free agent now.
If the Nike Kobe line becomes historic, it will be rich. Since their first union, Kobe and Nike have produced groundbreaking sneakers and emotional ad campaigns. The late Lakers icon’s collaborators at Nike have often described him as more connected than any other player to the actual development and design of his sneakers. The passion was evident in the final product, which captured the full spectrum of Kobe, from his great accomplishments on the basketball court to his passions beyond. In this phase of uncertainty as to what Kobe Bryant’s next posthumous sneaker release will look like, we reflected on the sneaker moments that defined his time with Nike.