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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Brands Leaning On Kobe Bryant Three Years After Death

  • Bryant will be the cover athlete of the NBA 2k24 video game this summer.
  • Nike recently announced plans to relaunch the Kobe signature sneaker line.
Three years after his death, Kobe Bryant business is going up.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The business of Kobe Bryant is in full swing three years after the Pro Basketball Hall of Famer’s death.

Bryant will grace the cover of “NBA 2K24” via two different editions — the fourth time the popular video game has selected the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star. A special edition of “NBA 2K21” honored Bryant with its cover in 2020, shortly after the helicopter accident that killed him, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.

Last week, Nike announced plans to relaunch the Kobe signature sneaker later this summer. In 2022, the brand reached an agreement with the Kobe Bryant Estate to continue the popular line.

After Bryant’s death, the state of his Nike merchandise fluctuated. After an initial report that Nike had stopped sales of Bryant-related items, the company clarified that it had actually sold out existing inventory. Bryant’s estate, led by his widow Vanessa, eventually let the contract expire in 2021.

Now, fences are mended with Nike, and Bryant is back in the spotlight via NBA 2K. 

Any other brands attempting to use Bryant’s likeness may face more resistance moving forward, though. Bryant had an exclusive trading card deal with Panini and was an investor in Body Armour — which netted his estate $400 million when Coca-Cola took majority ownership of the sports drink.

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