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2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

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Sounds like Nike and Vanessa Bryant are not on the same page. The late Kobe Bryant’s widow has revealed that a “Mambacita” version of the Nike Kobe 6 Protro that she designed was not approved for release.

Bryant took to social media to explain that although designed the show in honor of her late daughter, Gianna aka Gigi, considering that she and her husband’s estate decided to not renew its contract with Nike, the sneaker should be a non-starter.

She explained the jig in a lengthy Instagram post that included an image of the shoe, a Nike Kobe 6 Protro, in hand, but not her own.

“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” wrote Bryant. “It was going to be called the MAMBACITA shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes. I picked the colors in honor of her uniform, the number 2 she wore just like her uniform, the inside patter, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe’s signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo), etc. The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale.”

The 2nd image, after her note, is the as described shoe in someone’s hand—said person clearly has the plug (or had, all things considered). But the kicker is Vanessa Bryant doesn’t even have a pair. In the caption of the same IG post she adds, “…it appears someone already has Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoe in their possession. If someone can share how they have these shoes [sic] in their possession, that would be great because my daughters and I don’t have any of Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoes.”


Bryant goes on to say that the MAMBACITA was supposed to be sold in honor of her daughter with all the proceeds to go to the Mamba Mambacita Sports foundation. But since she famously decided not re-sign with Nike, at least to her understanding, the shoe was never to be created.

The shoe is probably a prototype that was never supposed to see the light of day, and well, someone blew it. Nike has some explaining to do.

Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, among other souls, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. Last month, Vanessa Bryant accepted his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame on his behalf.