Two days after Kobe Bryant’s untimely death in a California helicopter crash, Nike said it had sold out of all Kobe-related merchandise, contradicting an earlier report that the footwear giant had pulled gear bearing his name from its website.
ESPN earlier in the day reported that Nike said it would remove all of Bryant’s gear from the site; a company spokesperson later clarified those comments to say it had sold all the remaining inventory, which was likely sparse a few years into his retirement.
However, a company spokesperson told ESPN, “There may be Kobe product existing at retail.”
The company said it is still deciding on whether it will release a new Kobe shoe, the Kobe 5 Protro (pictured), on February 7 or postpone the drop, reports said.
A search for “Kobe” on nike.com had led to one product—a purple and yellow, Lakers gift card—but now the search leads visitors to the following statement that Nike issued soon after confirmation of Bryant’s death:
In Memory: Kobe Bryant
Along with millions of athletes and fans throughout the world, we are devastated by today’s tragic news. We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe and Gianna, especially their family and friends.
As we are learning more details of the accident and the others who have tragically lost their lives, our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone involved and impacted.
Kobe was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.