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Leaked images of a Nike shoe honoring Gigi Bryant were not endorsed by Vanessa Bryant, who said she designed the shoe but decided not to sell the shoes.
After an Instagram user posted an image of the shoes and claimed they would be released this summer, Vanessa Bryant released a statement on the social media platform saying they “are NOT approved for sale “and she hopes they won’t be sold by Nike. :
“I don’t know how someone else got their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi, and we didn’t. I hope those shoes haven’t been sold .. If anyone can share how they own these shoes that would be great as my girls and I don’t have any of Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoes.”
Bryant noted that she worked on the design of the Mambacita shoe, including selecting the colors, the interior pattern, and a number 2 in honor of Gigi’s basketball jersey.
However, when Vanessa and Bryant’s estate chose not to renew their contract with Nike in April, she also decided not to sell the sneakers and they “weren’t approved for manufacture in the first place.”
According to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, Vanessa and Bryant’s estate did not re-sign with Nike due to the clothing company’s frustration “limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and following his death in January 2020 in a helicopter crash”.
DePaula added that the field was also frustrated with the lack of kids’ sizes for Kobe’s signature sneakers.
Kobe Bryant originally signed a contract with Nike in 2003 after spending the first six seasons of his NBA career with Adidas. The Los Angeles Lakers legend signed a five-year extension with Nike in 2016 shortly after his retirement announcement.
Kobe and Gigi Bryant were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26, 2020.