The future of the Nike Kobe line, one of the oldest and most important iconic 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 chosen not to sign a new contract at this time. Nike confirmed to Complex via a statement this week that the deal is over, with Bryant’s wife Vanessa adding a personal comment on the status of her husband’s approval deal via Instagram. It’s possible the parties could come to an agreement, but failing to do so 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 makes history, it will be rich. Since their first union, Kobe and Nike have produced revolutionary sneakers and emotional advertising campaigns. Collaborators of the late Lakers icon at Nike have often described her as being more connected than any other player to the development and design of his sneakers. The passion was evident in the final product, which captured the entire 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.