Nike has to explain.
Earlier this Thursday, Vanessa Bryant expressed her annoyance on Instagram that a pair of tennis shoes she worked with for the sportswear giant in honor of her daughter Gianna, were put out to the public without her consent.
The sneaker was supposed to be called the Mambasita after Gigi’s nickname and have a “black and white colorway exclusively for her daddy’s sneakers,” the Nike Kobe 6 Protro. They have gold details, including Kobe and Gigi’s names on the back and number 2 on the sides.
Bryant explains that she wanted to sell the sneakers and direct the proceeds to Mamba and Mambasita Sports, and that she finally didn’t give the green light to sell the sneakers after she didn’t re-sign her husband’s contract with Nike.
“Mambasita shoes are not approved for sale,” he said, adding that “Mambasita shoes have not been approved to be manufactured.”
Bleacher Report Kicks shared a photo on Twitter of the tennis shoes on Wednesday, calling them the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “colorway” “Mamba Forever” and saying they will be released “later this year.” Last month, a few tennis websites reported on this product, shared photos of the final design and said it’s expected to go on sale this summer. The images came from the Snickers social media account @brand1an, which he captioned Thursday after Bryant shared his frustration with the leak.
In her post, Vanessa Bryant shares a photo of an unidentified person holding one of the Mambasita sneakers, which shows that Nike apparently did not live up to its words to save the project. People in the comments said a UK tennis store called Footpatrol had launched the sneakers for a gift that was meant to be a Kobe 6 Protro Del Sol “colorway”.
Kobe 6 Protro Mamba Forever sneakers are also available on the GOAT and Flight Club resale sites. There are two pairs available for $1,500 and $1,800, respectively.
In her letter, Bryant wondered why the sneakers were advertised without her consent and why she and her three other daughters don’t own the sneakers.
“Nike has not shipped any of these pairs to me and my daughters,” he said. “I don’t know how someone else is carrying a tennis shoe that I designed in honor of my daughter Gigi and we don’t. I hope these sneakers never sell out.”
Nike, GOAT and Footpatrol did not respond to questions from The Times prior to publishing this article.
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