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Vanessa Bryant is not happy after seeing photos of a Gianna Bryant tribute sneaker surface online following her decision not to re-sign with Nike.

2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty

The mother of four took to social media on Wednesday to react to a leaked photo of a shoe Vanessa herself helped design in honor of her late daughter, Gigi. The black and white sneaker features a “2” on the outsole, clearly being created to mimic the 13-year-old’s jersey colors and number.

“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” Vanessa wrote on Instagram. “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 pattern, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe’s signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo), etc.”

She 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 to sell these shoes. (The MAMBACITA shoes were not approved to be made in the first place.) Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls.”

Vanessa went on to say that she was confused as to how this person ended up with a pair of the exclusive shoes, as they shouldn’t be available in stores and she never approved them for sale.

“I hope these shoes did not get sold,” she wrote, tagging Nike.
It’s unclear why Bryant chose to terminate Kobe’s long-term relationship with the sneaker brand following his passing, though rumors circulated saying he already wanted out when his contract was up in 2021–and she obviously knows more about his wishes than us. It seems like these leaked Mambacita sneakers were being designed for what would have been Gianna’s 15th birthday last month, though the Nike partnership ended a month earlier.

Vanessa announced that Bryant’s estate had parted ways with Nike in an Instagram Story on April 19, revealing she and her husband’s estate did not renew the contract.

“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” Vanessa wrote at the time. “We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies.”


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