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Kobe Bryant x Nike

Kobe Bryant Was In Process of Leaving Nike

Waking up early on the scheduled days of sneaker releases through Nike’s infamous SNKRS app for Kobe Bryant sneakers could have been something totally different than what so many fans know today. 

Shervin Pishevar, co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop, revealed on Twitter that Bryant was ready to leave Nike in 2020. Bryant was unhappy with Nike’s treatment for his signature sneaker line as marketing was limited and sales were dipping. In December 2019, Bryant started to get the ball rolling to leave the iconic brand for one under his creation.

Black sneaker boot with snake skin pattern

Mamba was going to be a brand for his growing sneaker line, which brought in Pishevar and his team who designed a slew of sneakers for the potentially new brand. Pishevar shared meeting details and photos of a sneaker model that was going to incorporate technology for fitness tracking. 

This move was going to shake things up for everyone involved, particularly for Nike as one of the greatest athletes intended to walk away from their brand. 

But things came to halt a month later, when Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. 

Now it’s a matter of ‘what could’ve been’ had the ill-fated aerial trip in late January never happened. Since his death, Nike has slowly rolled out jerseys and sneakers like the Kobe Bryant Protro 6 Grinch through the SNKRS app; but has been heavily criticized as scalpers swoop in and resell the products for double the price, ultimately profiting on Bryant’s death.