Vanessa Bryant Accuses Nike of Unauthorized Release of ‘Mambacita’ Shoes

Vanessa Bryant accepts Kobe Bryant’s prestigious honor of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15, 2021. (YouTube)

Vanessa Bryant is demanding answers from Nike after shoes she helped design in honor of her late daughter Gianna, but decided not to release, appear to have been sold without her permission.

The widow of Kobe Bryant expressed her frustration on social media Thursday, saying she believes Nike approved the sale of the sneakers without her consent.

Vanessa wrote in an Instagram post: “The ‘Mambacita’ shoes are NOT approved for sale. I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefiting our @mambamambacitasports foundation, but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes.”

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The sneakers were called “Mambacita” after Gigi’s nickname and have gold detailing.

Vanessa included a photo in her post that showed someone holding one of the Mambacita shoes, which are Black, feature Gianna’s number 2 in gold at the back corner, white laces and white soles with the white Nike swoosh.

“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,” she added.

Nike has not yet made a public comment the shoes or Vanessa’s complaint.

In her Instagram story, she shared a follower’s comment on the post that said a store in the U.K. had “released a few pairs early by accident.”

She also posted a photo on her story that appears to show NBA player Khris Middleton wearing the shoes on the basketball court.