Part of Vanessa Bryant’s ongoing process of grieving is to be vigilant in ensuring that her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna are not only remembered, but honored. That is being put to the test now, as a tribute to her daughter produced by Nike has seemingly found its way into profiteering hands.
In a post on her Instagram account, Vanessa Bryant angrily called out Nike after an exclusive, unreleased pair of Kobe line shoes — The MAMBACITA shoe — were seemingly produced without authorization and acquired by a third party. The MAMBACITA shoe is set to be released as a tribute to Gianna, who was killed along with Kobe Bryant in a southern California helicopter crash in January of 2020.
“The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale,” wrote Bryant. “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. I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi and we don’t. I hope these shoes did not get sold.”
The MAMBACITA shoe features the colors and number (No. 2) of her basketball uniform, as well as an inside pattern featuring a butterfly, wings and an angel’s halo.
The dispute over the MAMBACITA shoes comes after Kobe Bryant’s family did not renew their partnership with Nike. According to a report by Nick DePaula of ESPN, the family allegedly felt that the terms of a proposed contract renewal were not up to standards of deals the company had with comparable NBA legends.