The widow and mother of Kobe and Gianna Bryant took to social media after discovering her shoe designs were leaked to the internet.
The 39-year-old mother (who also shares daughter Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1, with the late NBA hall of famer) collaborated with the brand to create the sentimental design, and shared that she “worked hard” on the black-and-white “MAMBACITA” sneakers. An exclusive colorway of Kobe’s iconic design, Vanessa slammed Nike, claiming that the shoes are “NOT approved for sale,” despite the fact that at least one person was already able to get their hands on a pair.
“I picked the colors to honor her [basketball] uniform,” Vanessa wrote. She went on to share that the unreleased sneakers feature both Kobe and Gianna’s names on the back and are emblazoned with a gold number 2 to represent her daughter’s jersey number. “In the [second] photo, it appears someone already has Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoe in their possession,” she also captioned in the post. “If someone can share how they have these shoes in their possession, that would be great because my daughters and I don’t have any of Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoes.”
Had the shoes been made available to the public, all the proceeds would benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. But since Vanessa Bryant didn’t re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell the shoes, how this product got out is of huge concern to the family, as she clarifies that the leaked sneakers were never approved by her. “Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls,” she concluded in the post. “I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed to honor my daughter, Gigi... I hope these shoes did not get sold @Nike.”
Via her Instagram Story, Vanessa also shared a screenshot of a tweet from Bleacher Report Kicks that stated the shoes will be released later this year. She also reposted a photo from the account, KicksOnCourt, of Milwaukee Bucks player Khris Middleton wearing the sneakers during a game over the weekend. Labeled as the Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mamba Forever,” it is unclear if Nike has plans to officially sell the shoes.