Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images
The leaked images of a Nike shoe honoring Gigi Bryant were not approved 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 these shoes weren’t sold. .… If anyone can share how they got these shoes in their possession, that would be great as my daughters 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, interior pattern and a number 2 in honor of Gigi’s basketball jersey.
However, when Vanessa and Bryant’s estate opted not to renew their contract with Nike in April, she also decided not to sell the sneakers and their manufacture “was not approved in the first place.”
According to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, Vanessa and the Bryant estate did not sign again with Nike due to frustration with the clothing company “limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his death in January 2020 in a helicopter crash “.
DePaula added that the estate was also frustrated with the lack of kid’s sizes for Kobe’s iconic sneakers.
Kobe Bryant initially 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 was announced.
Kobe and Gigi Bryant were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., January 26, 2020.