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#pounditSunday, January 16, 2022

NBA players reportedly paying huge money for Kobe Bryant sneakers

Kobe Bryant

Nike is no longer manufacturing Kobe Bryant sneakers after the NBA’s legends contract with the company expired earlier this year. That is apparently a huge disappointment to many players around the league, as the shoes are quite popular. So popular, in fact, that some players have spent upwards of $10,000 to get their hands on some.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst published a feature this week about how NBA players are “hoarding” Bryant’s Nike sneakers. He said a number of players are now sneaker free agents after their endorsement contracts with Adidas and Under Armour were not renewed. Many of them want to wear Kobes, and it’s a challenge to find pairs that are size 14 and larger.

“There are still supplies on sale at some retailers, but not in great numbers in the sizes NBA players typically need. … NBA players who wear size 14 or larger are looking at spending at least $800 for the most basic models of Kobes, and that’s not what they typically wear,” Windhorst wrote. “But the players are paying, with several telling ESPN they’ve spent more than five figures buying supplies of Kobes on the secondary market since last spring and summer.”

There’s obviously an element of nostalgia after Kobe died in a tragic helicopter accident last year. However, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said the comfort of the Nike Kobes is also unmatched.

“I’m not going into a store and finding a (size) 17 in a Kobe. No way,” Davis said. “I mean, it’s guys’ favorite shoes. A lot of people are inspired by him and the shoe feels amazing. All of them feel amazing.”

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, chose not to renew the shoe contract with Nike back in April. She said she was hoping Nike would want a lifetime partnership with the Bryant estate the same way they have with LeBron James and Michael Jordan, but that didn’t happen. If you remember, Vanessa was furious over the summer after the design of a new Kobe-inspired show leaked.

The deal is now expired, and Nike is not producing new Kobe sneakers. Demand for the existing pairs has skyrocketed as a result. NBA players have adjusted accordingly.

Photo: Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) reacts against the Utah Jazz in the first quarter at Staples Center. Bryant concludes his 20-year NBA career tonight. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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