Before Kobe Bryant’s estate parted ways with Nike in April, Vanessa Bryant designed a Kobe sneaker honoring her late daughter Gianna. The contract ended, and the shoes were never released.
Late Wednesday night, Vanessa took to Instagram after seeing a stranger’s photo of the shoes, saying they were not even supposed to be made in the first place.
“The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale,” she wrote. “I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefiting our @mambamambacitasports foundation, but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes.”
Roughly two weeks later, Vanessa Bryant announced Mambacita, a clothing line set for release on Gianna’s birthday. She had also said that there were still two Nike releases coming — but never mentioned the Mambacita sneakers. That hasn’t stopped them from showing up online and on-court.
- A post from @kicksoncourtph showed Nike-sponsored Bucks player Khris Middleton wearing the shoes earlier this week.
- @brandon1an shared “official pictures” on Instagram, though initial leaks were in May.
- B/R Kicks tweeted an “on-feet” look of the shoe Wednesday afternoon.
The price of the shoes, should they be released, is undisclosed. A pair of Nike Kobe VI Black Mambas retails for $200, and the sold-out Mambacita sweatsuit cost $332.
Multiple messages left with Nike by Front Office Sports were not returned on Thursday.