LOS ANGELES – Vanessa Bryant, widow of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, announced a reconciliation with Nike Thursday for production and distribution of her late husband’s shoe brand.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Nike is going to continue,” Vanessa Bryant announced on her Instagram account. “I am so proud that my husband’s shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world.
“With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come and with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.”
Bryant said she and Nike will also be establishing a “youth basketball center” in Southern California, although specific details were not announced.
The relationship between Nike and Bryant came into question last year, when she and her husband’s estate opted not to extend the endorsement contract when it expired in April. Various reports at the time indicated that Bryant was upset about the apparel company limiting availability of the products after Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a Chatsworth helicopter crash.
In June of last year, Vanessa Bryant took to social media to express outrage that a shoe she designed in honor of Gianna had apparently been released to some customers without her approval. Photos had surfaced on social media showing someone holding the shoes — which even Bryant didn’t have.
Thursday’s announcement, however, appears to put the division between Bryant and Nike to rest.
“I know this is an inspiring moment for my husband and daughter’s global fans, and I am very appreciative of each and every one you!” Bryant wrote.