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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Articles tagged: Kobe Bryant

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

Former Laker’s son ruined rare piece of Kobe Bryant memorabilia

Kobe Bryant

The son of one former Los Angeles Laker made a decision with some Kobe Bryant memorabilia that he would probably like to have back.

Ron Artest III, the son of retired NBA champion Ron Artest (who now goes by Metta Sandiford-Artest), spoke this week with TMZ Sports and revealed that he ruined a rare piece of Bryant memorabilia when he was younger.

“One time after a game, I was sitting outside of the locker room,” said Artest III. “[Kobe] walked in and a security guard came out and gave me the shoes [Kobe] just wore. As soon as I got them shoes, next day I went to the court and started playing in them and just tore them up. Instead of trying to hold them, I was like ‘Nah, I’m playing [in them].

“Game-worn shoes, I felt like ‘Like Mike,’ like the movie,” Artest III added. “I played in them and tore them up.”

The elder Artest played with Bryant on the Lakers from 2009 to 2013 and again in the 2015-16 season. That means that Artest III, who was born in 1999, was still a kid when he got the shoes. Thus, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to experience the magic of playing in Bryant’s game-worn sneakers.

That said, Bryant memorabilia has seen an absurd spike in price ever since his tragic passing in 2020. Even if Artest III didn’t want to sell the shoes, he probably still wishes that he kept them as a relic.

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

Old Kobe Bryant tweet goes viral after Giannis wins championship

Kobe Bryant

An old tweet from Kobe Bryant went viral on Tuesday night after the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship.

Giannis Antetokounmpo made his first All-Star team in 2016-2017, which was his fourth year in the league. Antetokounmpo was on a clear trajectory of improvement, but few saw an MVP in his future at that point. Kobe Bryant did.

That summer, Giannis asked Kobe what his challenge would be. Bryant challenged the Greek Freak to win an NBA MVP Award.

Two seasons later, Antetokounmpo took home his first of two NBA MVP Awards.

After Giannis won his first MVP, Bryant went to the next step. He challenged Giannis to win a championship.

That was in June, 2019. Bryant tragically died in a helicopter crash seven months later.

But two years after the challenge, Antetokounmpo came through.

Bryant is no longer around to issue a new challenge that pushes Antetokounmpo. But maybe he would tell Giannis to go for a second championship. And at the rate Giannis is going, he will accomplish that feat in two years.

Devin Booker emphatically shuts down Kobe Bryant comparisons

Devin Booker

Devin Booker is one of several young NBA stars who worked with Kobe Bryant before the Hall of Famer tragically died last year, but the Phoenix Suns star does not think comparisons between him and Kobe are appropriate.

Booker has been outstanding in his first ever postseason. He’s drawn some comparisons to Bryant along the way, and he was asked about those during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” Monday. Booker said he tries to take “bits and pieces of (Kobe’s) mentality and approach,” but he doesn’t want to be compared to him.

Booker has averaged 30.0 points per game in the NBA Finals. He scored 40 points in Game 4 and 42 in Game 5, but Phoenix lost both. He also dropped 46 points in the Suns’ series-clinching win against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the postseason, and he said he felt Bryant’s presence then.

If you remember, Kobe gave Booker an awesome gift when Booker was a rookie. You can understand why Booker feels a close connection to Bryant and would be uncomfortable with the comparisons now.

Vanessa Bryant furious over apparent Nike ‘Mambacita’ shoe leak


A Nike shoe that was designed to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has recently somehow leaked, and Vanessa Bryant is extremely upset over the situation.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Vanessa explained that she designed the shoe in honor of Gianna. She said the sneaker was going to be called the “MAMBACITA” but that she never approved it for sale. Vanessa also said Nike never sent her or her family any pairs of the shoes and asked for help in figuring out how they leaked.

“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” Vanessa wrote. “It was going to be called the MAMBACITA shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes. I picked the colors in honor of her uniform, the number 2 she wore just like her uniform, the inside pattern, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe’s signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo), etc. The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale.

“I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes. (The MAMBACITA shoes were not approved to be made in the first place). 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, and we don’t. I hope these shoes did not get sold. @nike.”

You can see Vanessa’s full post below, which includes a photo of the shoe:

One Instagram user who shared photos of the shoe last month says he does not have a pair in his possession. The user, whose handle is brandon1an, claims the leak came from an authorized Nike dealer.

“I just want to make it clear that I don’t own a pair of those Mambacita Kobes,” the Instagram user wrote, via TMZ. “The pictures I posted are official product pictures from a Nike authorized retailer. Unfortunately for @vanessabryant, Nike clearly sent pairs to this retailer (as well as others) with the intent of selling pairs.”

As Vanessa mentioned, she recently chose not to renew Kobe’s contract with Nike. Kobe had been with Nike for 17 years leading up to his death in January 2020. It was recently claimed that he had been planning to leave Nike to start his own show company prior to his death.

Kobe was famously loyal to Nike during his career, but the relationship between Nike and the Bryant family seems to have deteriorated.

Look: Jack Flaherty wears special Kobe Bryant cleats at Dodger Stadium

Jack Flaherty Kobe Bryant cleats

Jack Flaherty paid tribute to Kobe Bryant with the cleats he wore on Monday.

Flaherty, who is from Los Angeles and grew up in the city, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Flaherty wore purple and gold cleats — the Lakers’ colors. His right cleat even had the message: “RIP Kobe” on it.

Flaherty left his start after five innings due to tightness in his side. He allowed a pair of solo home runs and took a no decision.

On the season, the 25-year-old LA native is 8-1 with a 2.90 ERA.

Kobe Bryant wanted his parents to attend Hall of Fame ceremony

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and his parents Joe and Pam had a rocky relationship for years leading up to the former NBA star’s death, but it sounds like Bryant expressed a desire to put that to rest not long before he died.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, delivered a speech on Kobe’s behalf when Kobe was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night. During the speech, Vanessa said Kobe told her a week before he died that he wanted his mother and father to attend the enshrinement. She thanked Joe and Pam for “bringing one of the most amazing human beings into this world.” Vanessa also thanked Kobe’s entire family and said his sister Sharia has “gone above and beyond.”

Here’s the video:

Joe and Pam did not attend the ceremony, however. Anansa Sims, who is Matt Barnes’ ex-wife and close friends with Kobe’s sister Shaya, claims to know why. Sims shared a tribute to Kobe on her Instagram page that was attributed to Shaya, whose Instagram is private. Sims said she was told by Shaya that Joe and Pam did not attend the Hall of Fame ceremony because they were not personally invited and were “totally disrespected at the memorial.”

“His parents didn’t just choose not to go to the HOF. His parents were totally disrespected at the memorial. They weren’t personally invited to the HOF,” Sims wrote on Instagram, according to a screenshot captured by The Neighborhood Talk.

Sims also said Joe and Pam wished they had known Kobe expressed a desire for them to attend because they would have gone.

Some of Kobe’s issues with his parents stemmed from his decision to marry Vanessa at such a young age. He reconciled with his parents after the birth of his first daughter, Natalia, but the three went through a public fight in 2013 over some memorabilia.

Lakers legend Jerry West said Kobe’s parents were “traumatized and devastated” over their son’s death. It’s a shame they were unable to work out their differences.

H/T Bro Bible

Kobe Bryant had great reason for not taking games off

Kobe Bryant

There has been a big trend over the last few years of basketball players routinely taking games off in the NBA. “Load management” has not only become a concept, but also a practice.

Kobe Bryant was the antithesis of load management. Bryant played in all 82 regular season games five times during his career and often tried to play through injuries.

Why? The late Lakers legend’s wife Vanessa shared the reason on Saturday. Vanessa spoke on Kobe’s behalf at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She said that Kobe often refused to sit games because he wanted to perform for fans who had saved up to watch him play.

That is a wonderful attitude.

At the end of the day, the big contracts, the salaries and the league is all possible because of the fans who love their teams and watch the games. Many current players seem to forget that and only seem to care about themselves and their careers. Bryant kept it in mind. Fortunately, some other veteran players in today’s NBA do share that mentality.

Kevin Garnett opens up about going into Hall of Fame with Kobe Bryant

Kevin Garnett

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is typically a joyous occasion for all of those involved, but Kevin Garnett understands that this year’s class is going to experience a wide range of emotions.

Garnett spoke with Shams Charania of The Athletic this week about being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same class as Kobe Bryant. K.G. said that he, Kobe and fellow inductee Tim Duncan all pushed each other to be great during their careers and that it will be “super emotional” not having Bryant there.

“I feel more than honored to go in with these two, but Kobe not being there is gonna be super emotional for everybody,” Garnett said. “The fact that the three of us actually pushed the other two into whether it was awards, All-Star (appearances), battles, rings, we all three pushed the line. To go in with these two guys, I couldn’t ask for two (better people to be inducted with).”

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter crash early last year. Michael Jordan will be the presenter for Kobe, and Kobe’s wife Vanessa will give a speech on behalf of the Bryant family.

We all know Kobe would have delivered a memorable Hall of Fame speech, but unfortunately we’ll never be able to hear it. His absence will make the enshrinement bittersweet for Garnett and other members of the NBA community.

Vanessa Bryant to speak in honor of Kobe at Hall of Fame ceremony

Vanessa Bryant

This year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is sure to feature a wide range of emotions, and Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa will experience those first-hand when her late husband is enshrined.

Vanessa Bryant will deliver a speech in honor of Kobe at Saturday’s ceremony, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Inductees typically follow their presenter with a speech, and Vanessa will be assuming that role after Kobe was killed in a tragic helicopter crash last year.

As we previously learned, Michael Jordan will be the presenter when Kobe is inducted into the Hall of Fame. The six-time NBA champion opened up about the honor in an interview this week and shared the last text message exchange he ever had with Kobe.

Vanessa and Jordan both spoke at Kobe’s memorial last year and delivered emotional speeches about the loss of Kobe and his and Vanessa’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.