Vanessa Bryant is launching the Mambacita clothing line.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, wants Nike to explain why the Mambacita sneakers that she worked on to honor her daughter have been released without her permission.
Bryant said Thursday in an Instagram post that she was upset that the black-and-white shoes, with the names “Kobe” and “Gigi” engraved on them, were released when neither she nor her other daughters had received pairs.
Gianna Bryant — who has the nicknames “Mambacita” and “Gigi” — died in the helicopter crash that also killed her father, Kobe, in January 2020.
Vanessa Bryant had been working with Nike on a deal to sell the shoes, she explained, but the partnership was nixed when she didn’t re-sign her husband’s contract with the sneaker giant.
The Mambacita shoes were not approved to be made in the first place, Bryant said on her Instagram account. “I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter,” she said.
A representative from Nike did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Bryant shared a picture of someone holding one of the shoes, which feature the number 2 in gold. That was the number that Gianna wore on her basketball uniform.
Some individuals said in the comments of Bryant’s post that a sneaker shop called Footpatrol in the United Kingdom had released some pairs of the shoes early.
Bryant launched on May 1 her own Mambacita clothing line, with proceeds going toward her nonprofit foundation. May 1 would have been Gigi’s 15th birthday.