After the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi there was an influx of greed and confusion swirling about the sneaker world. Resellers were jacking up the prices of every pair of Kobe’s they had in stock attempting to capitalize off of the tragedy which led to most resale apps and websites to take down all listings of Kobe Bryant’s sneakers for a period of time. Nike itself was unsure of how to proceed because they knew that Kobe’s contract with Nike was running out by the end of the year and it was no time to try and talk business with Kobe’s wife Vanessa and the Bryant estate. A few months following Kobe’s passing rumours swirled around the possibility of Nike releasing a new Kobe sneaker honouring Kobe, Gigi and the other members of the helicopter that passed during the crash however nothing had been substantiated. That is until seemingly official images of the aforementioned sneaker hit social media and sent the sneaker world ablaze. Was this the first posthumous Kobe sneaker release? Was this approved through Kobe’s estate? Did Vanessa and Kobe’s family help with design? there were many questions that needed answers.
Vanessa Bryant made a statement via her social media that she had not been approached by Nike about any Kobe and Gigi related sneaker releases. Many people were unsure if the sneaker would ever release after Vanessa Bryant’s statement, especially after Vanessa let Kobe’s Nike deal expire in April 2021. The moment that Kobe’s Nike deal expired every sneaker head with photoshop was mocking up different colourways of old Adidas Kobe sneakers from the early 2000’s most of which are head scratching silhouettes that should never see the light of day (Adidas Kobe 2 specifically but I’ll still post at the bottom). Last month after a year in limbo Kobe’s estate and Nike agreed to a new deal and no sooner than the news broke pictures of the rumoured “Mambacita” sneaker were plastered across social media.
Last week Nike finally announced an official release for the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” over a year after images leaked. The black and white colour blocking is representative of the Mambacita Sports Academy team jersey while the entire upper of the sneaker is enrobed in a speckled snakeskin like texture that pays homage to Kobe's “Black Mamba” nickname. The heel of the sneaker has both Kobe’s and Gigi’s names printed on the back, left side for Kobe and the right for Gigi.The Mambacita logo was stamped on the back as well as Gigi’s number 2 on the lateral side of the heel. This sneaker has been a long time coming with sneaker heads waiting with bated breath for well over a year and it finally released. I love everything about this pair of kicks from the details, quality and heart behind the design. All profits from the sneaker sales go directly back into the “Mambacita Sports Foundation” who are champions of women sports across the country. The release coincided with Gigi’s 16th birthday April 30, as for the release details however it was only open to Nike SNKRS “exclusive access” (which is a whole other topic all together) as well as a few LA based sneaker stores so if you live outside of LA like myself this sneaker was next to impossible to cop.
Adidas Kobe 2...