The Mamba Mentality has been put on hold — for now. Fearing uncontrollable resale on the open market, Nike has decided to pull all Kobe Bryant-related products from their website.
According to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, the sneaker giant is worried about second-party retailers using Bryant’s death to overcharge for merchandise bearing the late basketball legend’s name.
Those looking for Bryant’s line of products have been greeted with purple-and-yellow Nike gift cards bearing the Los Angeles Lakers’ logo. Nike hasn’t made a final decision on what to do moving forward, especially as it pertains to the “Nike Kobe” signature series of sneakers. The Kobe 5 Protro — a shoe honoring Bryant’s final Lakers’ championship in 2010 — was due out on Feb. 7.
“Kobe was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball,” Nike posted in a statement on their website. “He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.”
In addition to Nike, several consignment shops and smaller sneaker boutiques have halted sales of Kobe Bryant-related products. No one feels right profiting off the likeness of a man who was killed tragically without warning. Per ESPN, prices for Bryant’s sneakers and memorabilia have seen a 200-300% spike over the past 24 hours on some secondary marketplaces.
The World May Never See 18.K Gold Hats Again
ESPN re-aired Kobe Bryant’s epic final NBA game on Monday night in a fitting tribute to the star’s greatness.
The five-time champion poured in 60 points in the contest in a 101-96 comeback victory over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. It was surreal to watch in the backdrop of Sunday’s tragedy.
ESPN’s Darrell Rovell unearthed an interesting nugget while the replay was airing when he posted a photo of an 18-karat gold hat that was being sold that evening — on April 13, 2016 — for $38,024 each. Lakers fans spent $1.2 million to buy merchandise during the game, per Rovell, including five people who purchased those glitzy caps.
UConn Honors Gianna Bryant with Honorary Seat
The University of Connecticut honored Gianna Bryant on Monday night when they placed her jersey and a bouquet of flowers on a folding chair.
The UConn women were set to play an exhibition game and the 13-year-old was a huge fan. In fact, there had been rumors of Gianna possibly playing for Geno Auriemma.
Bryant and his daughter had attended a game at Gampel Pavilion last March, sitting behind the Huskies bench, and watching WNBA star Rebecca Lobo have her college number retired.
“He was looking forward to coming up here and bringing his daughter for a daddy-daughter kind of trip, just the two of them,” Auriemma said after the game, via the Hartford Courant. “That’s why we didn’t make such a big deal about it. But, obviously, it was a big deal in a lot of ways.”
Everyone at the school was broken up about the untimely passing of Kobe and Gianna. It’s the story that continues to pull at everyone’s heartstrings.