The estate of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Nike did not agree to a contract extension, the shoe company confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports and other outlets. “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.”
It is not immediately clear what factors contributed to the dissolved relationship. Bryant, who signed with Nike in 2003 after originally being an adidas client, was heavily involved with the vision and design of his shoes.
Ever since his passing on Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, has overseen his various business affairs. Vanessa has been involved with “Granity,” the storytelling company that Bryant founded. But on May 16, 2020, the Mamba Sports Academy retired “Mamba” from its name at the Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach facilities. Bryant, who gave himself that nickname earlier in his 20-year NBA career, partnered with the Sports Academy in 2018 roughly two years after it first opened.
“We were going to work to satisfy the family and to get them at a peaceful place where they needed to be,” Chad Faulkner, the chief executive officer of the Sports Academy, told USA TODAY Sports in January. “Having Kobe’s name on the Sports Academy with the stature that we had and the publicity that we regularly receive, for that not to be the desire of the family was not offensive and didn’t bother us at all. We fully understood.”