Kobe and Nike

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - May 7, 2021 - 12:00am

Life is doubly beautiful if you’re famous and the public eye is always on you.  Chances are, you capitalize on your popularity and take advantage of your marketability by hooking up with companies for endorsement deals.  Sport stars and brands make a very profitable marriage and companies are always on the lookout for fresh new faces to carry their products.

According to reports, athletes had been lending their names to products since the 1920s as a form of sideline to add to their salaries.  It’s not the case today as they don’t have to break a sweat for them to earn millions of moneys promoting certain products.

The biggest brands in sports had cornered the world’s top athletes by giving some of them lifetime deals like football icons David Beckham and Lionel Messi for Adidas and Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan and LeBron James for Nike.  I would assume that Stephen Curry will also be having a lifetime deal of his own with Under Armour soon.

Kobe Bryant retired in 2016 and soon after, inked a five-year deal with Nike which could just be some form of formality for their eventual perpetual agreement.  He revolutionized the low-cut shoes which became popular with players and was the only other NBA player aside from Jordan selling their signature shoes long after they retired from the game.

But fate had other plans when Kobe tragically died in January 2020 and when the deal expired last month, Nike and Kobe’s side, after collaborating for 11 shoe models, could not agree on a new deal.  Obviously, the Swoosh don’t want to make a lifetime contract.

Reportedly, Kobe’s camp were disappointed with the way Nike handled the release of his signature line after his death where the demand grew especially among resellers, limiting new releases which sold out immediately despite ridiculously steep prices.   His wife Vanessa reached out to Nike to solve the issue but apparently, nothing came up.

This means that Nike will stop manufacturing all Kobe-related shoes and apparel but will still be releasing Kobe products that were already in the works.  There could be reissues especially of the very popular KB 6 Protro “Grinch” in the lime green color way.

There were reports that before his death, Kobe was not satisfied with Nike and plans to leave the company after their contract ends.  He wanted to start Mamba, a shoe company collectively owned by players.  If this materializes, Vanessa can choose a company to start a new deal as they have the rights to the Mamba logo and Kobe’s signature.

Notable NBA players wearing Kobes are DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker, Ja Morant, Josh Hart, Myles Turner, D’Aaron Fox, PJ Tucker and LA Laker players Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Endorsements are what make athletes more financially secured as usually, their deals give them more than their annual salaries.  Just don’t curse when contracts don’t get renewed because only someone occupying that palace along a murky river can use profanity.



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