Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late NBA icon Kobe Bryant, has called out Nike on Instagram after in-hand photos of a shoe that she said were not approved for sale surfaced.
“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna. It was going to be called the Mambacita shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on the social media platform.
Her statement continued, “The Mambacita shoes are not approved for sale. I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with all of the proceeds benefitting our @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell the shoes. The Mambacita shoes were not approved to be made in the first place.”
The second photo in her post revealed the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita” in someone’s hand. The look is as she described in her statement: a black and white color palette, which is reminiscent of Gianna Bryant’s uniform, as well as the No. 2 she wore on the heel in gold.
Vanessa Bryant also confirmed that she, as well as her daughters, have not received pairs of the shoes.
“I don’t know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi, and we don’t. I hope these shoes did not get sold @nike,” she wrote.
Responding to another user’s comment, Vanessa Bryant said Nike told her it produced pairs of the shoes. (Nike has not yet responded to FN’s request for comment.)
“Nike told us that the shoes were made after I saw them posted online but they were never supposed to be sold. In fact, we were discussing releasing them after all but the only way I will agree is if 100% of all of the proceeds goes to @mambamambacitasports so that Kobe and Gianna’s foundation is the only entity that benefits from selling Gigi’s Mambacita shoes,” she responded.
Although how the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita” shoes made it into someone’s hand, several Instagram users have made claims that U.K.-based retailer Footpatrol accidentally shipped pairs out to customers who ordered another Nike Kobe style.
FN has reached out to Footpatrol for comment.
Famed collector Qias Omar replied to Vanessa Bryant’s post and said people have reached out trying to sell him pairs.
“Footpatrol in the U.K. accidentally sent these to customers who ordered another colorway of the Kobe 6. They were supposed to receive the Grinch I believe but got these instead,” he wrote. “Footpatrol contacted them after asking for the pairs back but obviously no one gave them back. I got messages by a few people trying to sell me pairs. They are real. Just not supposed to be sold yet I guess.”
In April, Nike revealed that the deal between the brand and the Los Angeles Lakers legend has come to an end. “Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family,” Nike wrote in a statement emailed to FN.
After, Vanessa Bryant addressed her husband’s now-ended Nike deal on Instagram.
“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21. Kobe and Nike made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe. It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe. My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change,” she wrote via Instagram stories.