Vanessa Bryant Calls Out Nike After Gianna Tribute Shoes Appear Online
Vanessa Bryant is demanding answers from Nike after photos of a shoe designed in honor of her late daughter, Gianna Bryant, surfaced online.
On Wednesday, Vanessa reposted the Twitter user’s photo with the shoe she designed in tribute of Gianna, along with a note explaining that the sneaker hadn’t been approved to be made and — since she decided not to renew her late husband Kobe Bryant’s five-year post-retirement endorsement extension with Nike after it expired on April 13 — should not have been sold.
“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” Vanessa’s note reads. “It was going to be called the MAMBACITA shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes. I picked the colors in honor of her uniform, the number 2 she wore just like her uniform, the inside pattern, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe’s signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo), etc.”
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“The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale,” she continued. “I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting our @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract to sell these shoes. (The MAMBACITA shoes were not approved to be made in the first place.) Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls.”
Vanessa questioned how someone possesses the shoes when they shouldn’t be available to purchase anywhere. She also wondered how someone else has the shoes she designed in her daughter’s memory when their family doesn’t even have them. ET has reached out to Nike for comment.
A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant)
“I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi and we don’t,” she wrote. “I hope these shoes did not get sold. @nike.”
Vanessa also shared several screenshots and posts seemingly confirming the sneakers’ sale to her Instagram Story, including a photo of Milwaukee Bucks player Khris Middleton wearing the sneakers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on May 29.
In April, Vanessa said that although she and Kobe’s estate was ending her late husband’s partnership with Nike, she would “continue to fight” to allow fans to wear her late husband’s products.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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