Bryant family collaborates with Nike to honor passed relatives

Veronica Langrehr, Editor

    Announced Thursday March 24,2022, Nike will be working with Vanessa Bryant in partnership to honor her husband and daughter, Kobe and Gianna (Gigi) Bryant. 

    Kobe Bryant, a National Basketball Association (NBA) star, played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but traded to the Lakers later that year. Bryant played small forward and shooting guard for his team. 

    “It comes back to him being a competitor and being obsessed with the game he loves,” said former NBA player and teammate to Bryant, Josh Powell. 

    Kobe was also a Nike athlete which gave him the opportunity to create shoes with the brand. Nike made basketball shoes named after Kobe such as the Nike Kobe 6 Protro. 

    Kobe Bryant also introduced his daughter, Gigi, into basketball at a young age. He worked with her to give basketball lessons and coach her team even after his retirement from the game. She explained she had aspirations of playing for the University of Connecticut. 

    Heartbreakingly, Jan. 26, 2020 the plane Kobe, Gigi and seven other passengers were taking to go to Gigis’ basketball game crashed causing the deaths of these victims. Kobe, 41 years old and Gigi, 13 years old at the time of the crash left the world and NBA heartbroken. 

    “I had just talked to him a week before and you don’t think that would happen,” said former teammate and close friend to Kobe, Gary Payton. 

    And while it was announced that Kobe’s collaboration with Nike had ended and Vanessa Bryant was unhappy with Nike making an unauthorized shoe honoring Gigi after the accident, this year the athletic apparel company will be producing new shoes to respect the family. 

    Their focus will be on promoting a “new generation of fans and encouraging youth participation in sports.” They will start off with the first shoe being  Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” as a tribute to Gigi. 

    “ I think Gigi deserves the shoe because she’s been an inspiration to other female athletes…she deserves this since she never got the chance to create what Kobe did,” said junior Vaughn Andrews. 

    The Bryant family wants to continue the goals Kobe had set for himself. So in addition to the shoes, Vanessa and Nike will also work to make a youth basketball center in Southern California.

   

Nike displays a design for a shoe honoring the upcoming birthday of young basketball star, Gigi Bryant. (Photo from twitter.com. )

“I am happy to announce that we will continue my husband’s legacy with Nike and look forward to expanding his and Gigi’s global impact by sharing the Mamba Mentality with youth athletes for generations to come,” said Vanessa.