Kobe Bryant’s legacy transcends the court. From his evident impact as the Black Mamba to his signature shoe line as well as his mentorship to the next generation of hoopers. For men and women, Kobe Bryant will forever be hailed as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Since his tragic and abrupt death, all facets of sneakers and hoops culture continue to mourn Kobe Bryant and Gigi as well. Players like Jewell Lloyd, Sabrina Ionescu, Devin Booker, PJ Tucker, DeMar DeRozan, and countless others continue to pay respect to Kobe.
DeRozan, one of the prominent Nike Kobe wearers, even prior to Bryant’s death, has been at the forefront of the Nike Kobe Protro line with his Nike Kobe 1 & Kobe 4 releases as well as Player Exclusive colorways of the Kobe 1, Kobe 4, Kobe 5, and Kobe 6.
On August 1, 2022, The Athletic & Stadium‘s Shams Charania reported that the Chicago Bulls guard signed a four-year contract extension with Nike “that keeps him as the featured face of Kobe Bryant’s iconic line.”
Following the report, Vanessa Bryant dismissed the claim on a now-deleted Instagram comment, stating that it was “false” and “misleading” as “[h]e is not the face of the Kobe Line. No one is.”
Vanessa continued by saying that “[o]nly Kobe is the face of his line. If that changes in the future, then I’m sure Nike and I will release a statement announcing it.”
Vanessa’s comments are the latest on the Nike Kobe line dating back to her disappointment with the early release of the Nike Zoom Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” release that honored Kobe, Gigi, and the Mamba Academy, which was then followed by the decision to not renew the Nike Kobe contract.
However, Vanessa and the Swoosh would come to terms as the Nike Kobe line was renewed and then followed by a proper release of the “Mambacita Sweet 16” colorway on May 1, 2022, which would’ve been Gigi’s 16th birthday.
As of now, we expect DeMar to continue to wear his Kobe PEs for the majority of the upcoming season — whether he’s the featured face of the Nike Kobe line or not.
Nike declined to comment on the situation.
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