Vanessa Bryant Blasts Nike for Apparent Release and Sale of Mambacita Shoes Honoring Gianna

Vanessa Bryant took to social media last week to blast Nike over the apparent release of a sneaker she designed honoring her late daughter, Gianna, seemingly released and sold to a customer. The widow of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant called out Nike after photos leaked online of the shoe being held by an unidentified individual, leading Bryant to believe the shoe was sold to a customer.

"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 in an Instagram post. "I picked the colors in honor of her uniform, the inside pattern, 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."

Bryant posted a photo of someone holding the show and asked her followers "if someone can share how they have these shoes in their possession, that would be great because my daughters and I don't have any of Gigi's MAMBACITA shoes."

In the post, Bryant said: "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 [Mambacita Sports Foundation] but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes." She then added "Nike has not sent any of these pairs to me and my girls. I do not know how someone else has their hands on their shoes I designed in honor of my daughter Gigi and we don't."

Nike has not commented on the situation as of this writing. However, Bryant posted on her Instagram story that showed a tweet claiming a shoe retailer from the United Kingdom called "Foot Patrol" had sold the shoe early. An Instagram user, brandon1an, originally posted professional photos of the Mambacita shoes nearly three weeks ago and claims that Nike is responsible for the shoe leak.

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"I just want to make it clear that I don't own a pair of those Mambacita Kobes," the IG user said in a statement Thursday morning as reported by TMZ. "The pictures I posted are official product pictures from a Nike authorized retailer." As Bryant mentioned she ended the relationship with Nike after Kobe's contract ended in April.

"Kobe's Nike contract expired on 4/13/21," Vanessa Bryant told ESPN in a statement. "Kobe and Nike have 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."