Could Mamba be the new Swoosh? Reports emerged earlier this week that Kobe Bryant’s estate may have parted ways with Nike because big plans are in the works for a personal brand. Now, Vanessa Bryant has seemingly confirmed these speculations by launching the Mambacita clothing line.
Mambacita made its debut today, on what would have been Gigi Bryant's 15th birthday. The clothing line is an ode to Bryant's daughter who sadly passed away with the basketball star last year. It appears to be an athleisure line, with Bryant and her three daughters showing off branded tie-dye sweats sets in white and black. 100% of the proceeds from Mambacita's sales will go to the family's Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
This week, multiple sources reported that the late NBA star's wife Vanessa Bryant has led legal filings for more than 13 trademarks since May 2020 on the behalf of Kobe’s estate. This includes trademark applications for "Play Gigi’s Way," "Mamba" and "Mambacita," "Baby Mambas" and "Mamba League." The filings show that the trademarks are intended to be used for everything from clothing, gym wear, loungewear, and footwear.
The Kobe Bryant estate is methodically trying to protect the brand, which includes rebranding the Mamba Sports Academy to simply the Sports academy, retiring the word "Mamba."
Last week, ESPN reported that Nike’s contract with the estate ended last Tuesday, and a new agreement had not been signed. At the time, sources revealed that Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death. There was also reported frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids' sizes, according to sources.
Nike had reportedly presented an extension offer, but it was not in line with expectations of an ongoing "lifetime" structure — similar to the Nike Inc. contracts held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
As the estate parted ways with the Swoosh, Vanessa Bryant hinted that this wasn't the end for Kobe-themed merch and footwear. "My hope will always be to allow Kobe's fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that," she said. "I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband's legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi's legacies. That will never change."
The launch of a personal brand could be something Kobe had in the works himself before his untimely death. The last trademark that Kobe Inc. filed before his death was for “Mambacita” on Dec. 30, 2019. And Shervin Pishevar, an entrepreneur who co-founded Virgin’s Hyperloop, recently revealed that Kobe had told him of plans to start his own sneaker company and call it “Mamba.”