Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram June 2 to question Nike about why someone has possession of a sneaker she designed in tribute to her late daughter Gianna Bryant.
Vanessa reacted to a photo of an unidentified person holding a MAMBACITA sneaker while the shoebox and other sneaker in the pair are on a shelf with other sneakers, which may be part of a sneakerhead’s collection. Vanessa designed the shoe in tribute to Gianna who died in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020 along with her father Kobe Bryant and seven other people.
"This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna," wrote Vanessa on Instagram. "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."
She continued, "The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale. I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting our @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract 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.”
Vanessa also shared a photo to her Story of someone wearing the sneakers in question and wrote, "How/Why is someone wearing my daughter's shoe? This isn't right.”
On April 19, Vanessa revealed via an Instagram Story that she and the estate of her late husband didn’t renew the contract with Nike. "I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband's legacy," Vanessa wrote in part back then. "We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi's legacies."
Nike has not addressed Vanessa’s concerns through its Twitter or Instagram.