Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant’s estate decided not to extend their partnership with Nike which expired earlier this month due to several differences between the two sides, reports say.
Vanessa Bryant took to social media to release her statement confirming an end to the nearly 20 year-long partnership. ESPN first reported the news.
“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.”
Bryant’s statement seemed to suggest both sides could not reach an agreement regarding a new deal.
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.
Nike issued a statement to Fox Business confirming the news as well:
“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,” the company said.
Bryant originally signed with Nike in 2003. According to The Athletic, the estate is now free to negotiate a deal with new brands.