Kobe Bryant’s endorsement deal with Nike has expired.
The late NBA superstar’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, decided not to renew the contract with the sports brand, which came to an end of April 13, however, she has vowed to ensure his fans can continue to wear and get their hands on his footwear.
In an Instagram Story statement, Vanessa said: “Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21. 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.
“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 honour Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
In a statement to ESPN, Nike insisted that while the contract has come to an end, Kobe remains a “deeply loved member of the Nike family”.
The company said: “Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers.”
“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.”
The late former Los Angeles Lakers player first signed with Nike in 2003, and released dozens of sneakers emblazoned with his name.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna passed away in a helicopter crash, at the age of 41, in January 2020.
The basketball hero was survived by Vanessa and their kids Natalia, 18, Bianka, four, and Capri, 21 months.