Vanessa Bryant, widow of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, wants Nike to explain why the Mambacita sneakers that she worked on to honor her daughter have been released without her permission.
In an Instagram post Thursday morning, Vanessa Bryant said 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 has the nicknames “Mambacita” and “Gigi,” died in the helicopter crash that killed her father, Kobe Bryant, in January 2020.
Vanessa Bryant had been working with Nike on a deal to sell the shoes, she explained, but when she didn’t resign her husband’s contract with the sneaker giant, the partnership was nixed.
The Mambacita shoes were not approved to be made in the first place, Vanessa Bryant said on her Instagram account. “I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter,” she said.
A representative from Nike did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Vanessa Bryant shared a picture of someone holding one of the shoes, which feature the number 2 in gold. That was the number that Gianna wore on her basketball uniform.
Some individuals said in the comments of Vanessa Bryant’s post that a sneaker shop called Footpatrol in the United Kingdom had released some pairs of the shoes early.
On May 1, Vanessa Bryant launched her own Mambacita clothing line, with proceeds going toward her nonprofit foundation. May 1 would have been Gigi’s 15th birthday.