LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Vanessa Bryant wants answers from Nike after a shoe she worked on with the company to honor her late daughter, Gianna Bryant, appears to already be in the hands of some buyers.
In a statement posted to Instagram, Bryant says she worked with Nike on a shoe that was going to be called the “Mambacita,” an exclusive black-and-white colorway based on Nike’s Kobe Bryant’s Black Mamba line. The shoes bear a gold 2 for the number she wore on her jersey, Kobe and Gigi on the back instead of Kobe’s signature, and inner details like a butterfly, wings, and a halo.
“The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale,” Bryant wrote.
Bryant says she wanted all proceeds from the sale of the shoe to benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, but decided not to sell or even make the shoes when she opted to not re-sign with Nike, a decision she says her husband was considering before he died in a January 2020 helicopter crash that also killed 13-year-old Gianna.
“Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls. I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi,” Bryant said.
In her Instagram stories, Bryant also reposted an image of Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton appearing to wear the Mambacita shoes during Game 4 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Miami Heat on Sunday.
The terms of Kobe Bryant’s deal with Nike are not public, and it’s unclear if there are any other designs the shoe giant plans to release more than a year after his death.