The estate of Kobe Bryant did not renew the late basketball stars Nike deal this month as negotiations between the two sides fell apart. The news was first reported by Complex and later confirmed by Nike.
The move signals what could be the end of the long relationship between Bryant and Nike unless the two parties can agree to a new contract. Bryant’s estate could also partner with an outside footwear firm on a new range.
Nike said in a statement on Bryant’s departure: “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.”
According to ESPN, Bryant and the estate has become frustrated at the limited product range and absence of kid’s sizes since Bryant’s retirement. Nike had presented an extension offer that was not in line with expectations of an ongoing “lifetime” structure similar to the Nike Inc. contracts held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Bryant’s latest deal with Nike expired on April 13.
“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,” Vanessa Bryant, his wife, said in a statement. “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 honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”
Photo courtesy CBS