Vanessa Bryant Calls Out Nike for Early Release of Sneakers: 'NOT Approved For Sale'

The wife of former NBA legend Kobe Bryant said she designed the pair of shoes in black and white as a tribute to daughter Gianna's basketball uniform.
Vanessa Bryant Calls Out Nike for Early Release of Sneakers: 'NOT Approved For Sale'
Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | Getty Images

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Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram on Thursday to take on Nike for reportedly releasing images of a sneaker made in honor of her late daughter Gianna earlier than they were set to be released.

“The Mambacita shoes are NOT approved for sale,” Bryant wrote in her post.

The wife of former NBA legend Kobe Bryant said she designed the pair of shoes in black and white as a tribute to Gianna’s basketball uniform.

Other details on the shoes also have sentimental meaning, like the number “2” to honor Gianna’s basketball number and Kobe and Gianna’s names etched on the sides of the shoe.

“I did not resign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes,” Bryant explained.

Another picture on her Instagram post shows what appears to be someone holding the shoe, which infuriated Bryant, who wrote that she and her other daughters have not yet received any pairs of the sneaker themselves.

“I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi and we don’t,” Bryant wrote. “I hope these shoes did not get sold.”

Though there is no record of the sneaker on Nike’s website, it appears that Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton wore the sneakers in Game 4 of the NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat.

Bryant wrote that the shoes were meant to benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Foundation, a nonprofit founded in honor of Kobe and Gianna that benefits young female athletes and other underserved athletes. 

Nike has not yet responded to Vanessa Bryant's post. 

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