Highsnobiety aims to provide our readers with the latest updates in the sneaker world. However, we cannot verify the reliability of any unauthorized leaks or rumors unless this information is provided directly by the brands themselves.

Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in early 2020, leaving the sports world (and the world at large) shocked and aggrieved. Bryant, who was 41 when he passed away, had been signed to Nike for nearly two decades at the time, and his line of signature sneakers had been continued beyond his retirement from the game — much like Michael Jordan’s.

According to Iranian-American angel investor and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, however, Kobe was considering leaving Nike to start his own sneaker company. In a series of tweets, Pishevar claims that Bryant had met with him to discuss terminating his relationship with Nike in late 2019 and starting a “shoe company owned by players,” supposedly called Mamba, at some point in 2020.

Pishevar shares that Kobe was apparently unhappy with Nike’s marketing and promotion committee to his signature line, and felt that sales of his shoes were struggling. Pishevar also claims that Kobe did not trust Nike’s judgment in design, which is why he still retained tight control of his line of sneakers.

Kobe had long become synonymous with Nike Basketball, and his signature sneakers were considered to be some of Nike’s best-ever for on-court performance, favored by many other NBA players signed to Nike and also laying the groundwork for reigning MVP Giannis Antetekounmpo’s own signature sneaker.

Though these claims can’t be entirely substantiated and only point to Kobe thinking about leaving Nike to start his own brand, Pishevar has shared a screenshot of his calendar from that day. as well as a rendering of a potential sneaker design.

Pishevar claims he divulged this information nearly a year after Bryant’s death because this week is the one-year anniversary of the meeting. It’s unclear what Kobe’s relationship with Pishevar was and whether Pishevar was asked to or considering investing in Mamba.

Of course, however real any of these plans were, they were cut short by Bryant’s untimely passing in January of this year. If true, it would have been incredibly interesting to see what Kobe could have done with a brand he had complete control over.

While big sportswear companies such as Nike and adidas still control large parts of the performance market, there have been attempts by players to launch their own brands. Lonzo Ball and his brothers started Big Baller Brand with their father, while Stephon Marbury teamed up with Steve and Barry’s to launch Starbury — a line of affordable basketball shoes.  Shaquille O’Neal also opted to start his own Dunkman and Platinum brands, though those are remembered more for their knockoff designs than anything else.

If there was one player with the star power and the know-how to break free of the big corporations, it would have been Kobe Bryant.

To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, follow @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, check our sneaker release date calendar, and subscribe to our sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates to your inbox.

What To Read Next

*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.