Vanessa Bryant launches the Mambacita clothing line.
Vanessa Bryant, widow of late NBA star Kobe Bryant, wants Nike to explain why the Mambacita sneakers she worked on in honor of her daughter were released without her permission.
Bryant said in an Instagram post on Thursday that she was upset that the black and white shoes with the names “Kobe” and “Gigi” engraved on them were released when neither she nor her other daughters had received pairs.
Gianna Bryant – who is nicknamed “Mambacita” and “Gigi” – died in January 2020 in the helicopter crash in which her father Kobe was also killed.
Vanessa Bryant had worked with Nike on a deal to sell the shoes, she explained, but the partnership was dashed when she failed to re-sign her husband’s deal with the sneaker giant.
The Mambacita shoes are not allowed at all, said Bryant on her Instagram account. “I don’t know how anyone else could get their hands on shoes that I designed in honor of my daughter,” she said.
A Nike representative did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Bryant shared a picture of someone holding one of the shoes with the number 2 in gold. It was the number Gianna wore on her basketball uniform.
Some people said in the comments on Bryant’s Post that a sneaker shop called Footpatrol in the UK had prematurely released some pairs of the shoes.
The shoes are also displayed as sold out on the Goat’s and Flight Club websites. Footpatrol, Goat, and Flight Club were not immediately available for comment.
Bryant launched her own Mambacita clothing line on May 1st, with proceeds going to her charitable foundation. May 1st would have been Gigi’s 15th birthday.