AceShowbiz - Kobe Bryant's widow Vanessa Bryant has broken her silence amid reports that the fallen NBA star's contract with Nike has ended after two decades. Taking to her Instagram account on Monday, April 19, Vanessa confirmed the news, insinuating that ending the contract was not something she actually wanted.
"Kobe's Nike contract expired on 4/3/21," Vanessa wrote in a statement. "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."
She continued, "It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband's product than any other signature shoe. 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," Vanessa concluded.
Nike itself has issued a statement on the matter. "Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike's deep connection to consumers," the famous apparel brand stated. "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."
This arrives after it was rumored that the estate of Kobe did not renew the late basketball icon's Nike deal this month. A source previously spilled that Kobe's latest deal with Nike expired on April 13, 2021. The iconic basketball player united with Nike after he ended his contract with Adidas back in 2003.
Back in December 2020, Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar claimed he met Kobe weeks before he died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. "I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn't happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020. Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players. He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career," he tweeted at the time.
"These were the designs my team did to show him that day for an independent Mamba shoe company. Here's calendar details. There were witnesses to the meeting and Kobe's plans like Gina Ford, who manages Usain Bolt," he added. "the idea of the tracker in back back (attached by strong magnet) connected a great Mamba fitness app and integrated coaching/motivational features."