Earlier today, Complex reported Kobe Bryant‘s 5-year endorsement deal with Nike is ending. The Bryant estate is now a free agent for the first time since 2003. In Bryant’s time with Nike, 11 signature shoes hit the market.
Without speculating too much, it seems the Bryant estate will seek other options. Per venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, Bryant sought other opportunities when he felt unsatisfied with Nike.
I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn’t happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020. Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players. He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career.
— Shervin Pishevar (@shervin) December 29, 2020
Dating back to 2012, Bryant shared with the world “The Kobe System“, an outstanding campaign to promote his new shoe, Kobe Vll System Supreme. Later in his career, Kobe didn’t shy away from an opportunity to teach the masses his intellect. In the commercial, Bryant explained his theories of success to the likes of Kanye West, Tony Robbins, and many more.
The “Mamba Mentality,” whether a lifestyle or just a genius marketing campaign, birthed a mantra that lives on to this day. Nike expressed its appreciation Bryant’s influence on the company:
“He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”
Known for pushing boundaries and taking the game’s intellect to another level, the Bryant estate has an opportunity to lay a new ground with its own creation.