By Sammy Strobel
Assistant Sports Editor
The long relationship between Kobe Bryant and Nike has ended, meaning Nike will need to seek a new sponsor. Widow Vanessa Bryant confirmed the five-year extension with Nike expired on April 13 and states she has no interest in renewing it.
According to the Washington Post, Vanessa Bryant wrote, “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 [daughter] Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
It’s been about 15 months since NBA star Kobe Bryant passed away, and the Bryant estate has grown frustrated over the availability of Bryant’s Nike products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. According to ESPN, there was also frustration with the lack of availability of Bryant’s footwear in kids’ sizes.
Although the contractual relationship between Kobe and Nike has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.