By: Owen Poindexter
Nike won’t be making new Kobe shoes beyond this year, but there’s a chance we may see new Mambas at some point down the road.
Bryant’s estate filed 13 trademarks since May 2020 for shoe and clothing brands, including Mamba, Lil Mamba, Baby Mamba, Lady Mambas, and Play Gigi’s Way.
Part of Vanessa Bryant, his widow, and the Bryant estate’s frustration with Nike was a failure to produce kids’ shoes, according to ESPN. The brand also reportedly did not offer a lifetime contract, an arrangement exclusive to Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The split with Nike may have been inevitable. Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar said in December 2020 that he met with Kobe in 2019 about his plans to leave Nike and start a shoe company called Mamba.
Pishevar added that the design included a tracker in the back of the shoe that would connect to a fitness app. Kobe’s investment firm, which he co-founded with investor Jeff Stibel, invested in connected device company Tile and data display firm Datanyze, among others.
While it’s unclear how the Bryant estate will proceed, it’s prepared to go in a number of directions with a host of trademarks and one of the most beloved names in sports.