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Not even Vanessa Bryant has a pair of leaked shoes she designed honoring her late daughter and husband.
On Thursday, Bryant took to social media to call out Nike after someone seemingly got their hands on a pair of unreleased exclusive Kobes honoring the late Hall of Famer and daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.
The father and daughter, along with seven others, died in a tragic helicopter crash in southern California in January 2020.
“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” Vanessa wrote in a post on Instagram that included a photo of someone holding the black and white shoe.
“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,” Bryant explained.
The “MAMBACITA” shoes “are NOT approved for sale” and never were, Bryant said.
“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.),” she wrote. “Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls.”
Bryant tagged Nike in her post, noting in her caption, “I hope these shoes did not get sold.”
She added, “I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi and we don’t.”
Bryant shared similar messages to her Instagram story, one of which included a photo of someone wearing the shoes.
“How/Why is someone wearing my daughter’s shoe? This isn’t right,” she captioned the post.
In April, Bryant hinted at a rocky relationship with Nike when she confirmed she did not renew her husband’s partnership with the brand. Kobe’s contract expired on April 13.
“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” she told ESPN.
When Nike came back to Bryant and the estate with a proposed contract renewal, sources told ESPN the terms were not up to the standards that were set with the lifetime deals Michael Jordan and LeBron James received from the brand.
Vanessa, according to the outlet, was discouraged with Nike over a lack of products after Kobe’s retirement and death, including a shortage of sneakers in kids sizes.
Despite the breakup with Nike, Bryant promised that she would continue to share Kobe products with fans and make products more available.
“We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change,” she said.
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