LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The long-running endorsement contract between late Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and apparel giant Nike appears to have come to an end.
According to ESPN, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has opted not to renew the deal, which expired last week.READ MORE: Michael Jordan To Present Kobe Bryant At NBA Hall Of Fame Induction
Bryant and his estate were frustrated that Nike was limiting availability of its Kobe products, both after his 2016 retirement, and in the wake of his death, sources told ESPN.
Vanessa was also unhappy that Nike’s Kobe footwear was not readily available in enough children’s sizes.
Bryant started his NBA career with Adidas before transitioning to Nike in 2003, according to CBS Sports.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike said in a statement Monday to CBS Sports. “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.”
On the morning of Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in the Calabasas hills amid heavy fog.