Vanessa Bryant on Thursday called out shoe giant Nike over an “unauthorized” release of shoes honoring her late daughter Gianna.
In a social media post, Bryant said that she had been working with Nike on the MAMBACITA sneakers, but that all plans for the shoe’s release had been scrapped after she decided not to renew her late husband Kobe Bryant’s partnership with the company.
“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna. 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.,” read Bryant’s post on Instagram.
Bryant added that the shoes had never been approved for production and that she had decided against their sale. She heard news of the shoes release on social media and is now demanding answers from Nike.
“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.”
When news of Bryant’s break from the company came out earlier this year, a source who spoke with ESPN claimed that Bryant and the estate had grown “frustrated” that Nike had been “limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash.”
“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” she said at the time. “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.”