Just prior to the start of the NBA Playoffs, word emerged that Vanessa Bryant had decided not to renew a contract with Nike to allow them to continue producing the Kobe line of sneakers that has been one of their most popular. This applied to both the public and in the NBA, as more players wear Kobes than any other shoe.
For those players, many looked to get their hands on as many pairs as they could before production halted on any future pairs, and it seems that has included snagging some colorways and designs that were in the works but had not been released prior to the contract not being renewed. Among those was a Mambacita design, with a black and white silhouette, a gold number 2 on the side for Gianna, and the Mambacita logo on the back.
According to Vanessa Bryant, they were initially to be sold with all proceeds going to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, but she implored Nike not to sell them and has questions about how they got out in the hands of some in an Instagram post on Thursday.
Her issue seems to be with someone randomly getting them when she and her girls have not received any and they weren’t supposed to be in production. That doesn’t necessarily mean she has frustrations with players who may have gotten a pair — like Khris Middleton who wore a pair during the Bucks’ first round series against Miami — but it’s clear she’s not happy there were apparently numerous pairs made that have gotten out.
Khris Middleton wearing the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita” last week in Game Four against Miami pic.twitter.com/mn9ut4BwI1
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) June 3, 2021
Sneaker companies work on designs well in advance of any release, so it’s not a surprise there are some floating around, but it’s certainly not a good look for Nike that there was clearly a lack of communication with Bryant’s family that the sneakers were being produced and no pairs were given to Vanessa and the girls at the very least.