Bombshell news hit the sneaker world on Monday, as it was confirmed that Kobe Bryant's contract with Nike had not been renewed by his estate.
Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020 along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, had been with Nike for more than a decade. His basketball shoes were arguably the most popular shoes to play in among NBA players.
However, his deal with Nike was set to expire this year, and according to multiple reports, the deal was not renewed by his estate.
Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, shared a statement to ESPN.
"Kobe's Nike contract expired on 4/13/21," Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Lakers legend, told ESPN. "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."
According to a report from ESPN, Bryant's family had grown "frustrated" with Nike:
According to a source, Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids' sizes, according to sources.
It will be interesting to see if Bryant's family chooses to pursue a contract elsewhere. He previously had shoes and apparel with Adidas before joining Nike.