The Story of Kobe Bryant Leaving Nike & How They Didn’t Realize He Was Still Bigger Than LeBron James

Untouchable King Kobe. . .

Earlier this week, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Shervin Pishevar, shared some eye-raising information regarding his late friend, Kobe Bryant. Throughout 2020, most of the world was hit with one of the worst days in news history, when it was revealed Kobe had passed away. Since then, Nike has saw insane profits with ginormous sales spikes of his line of merchandise.

That being his apparel and signature sneakers all going out of stock throughout the year. When Shervin confirmed what many knew behind-the-scenes, the public was finally introduced to the prototype pair of Mamba 1 shoes he was already developing. The concept was for people to be able to wear with any suit, as well as being able to play in them on the basketball court.

The initial design wasn’t final, as it was still missing his official logo. Just days before he passed, Kobe Bryant was planning to leave Nike. However, as one last ditch plan to keep him with the company, Nike planned a private meeting to pitch him one final idea regarding his future. Following the release of the Kobe 10’s in 2017, many of his creative friends at the company were fired.

In our opinion, the final straw with Nike, was when a narrative was pushed with him returning to the NBA to pair up with LeBron. At the time, the Los Angeles Lakers were losing and a marketing campaign was driven to convince him out of retirement. Kobe immediately shut down those ideas and said he was no longer playing basketball.

Behind-the-scenes, he offered input with his former agent Rob Pelinka, serving essentially as Jeannie Buss’ right-hand guy for all roster changes. After the Lebron situation, he felt the new people in charge didn’t see his vision with what he wanted his brand to be. Kobe envisioned himself on the level of Michael Jordan, with international appeal across the world.

Yes, when the team at Nike shifted focus to King James, Kobe was still the biggest American athlete in the world. He was beloved in China as their player and praised in Europe for spending a large portion of his youth there – we’re not even mentioning the praise he got in Africa either. He was one of the only major NBA players that could speak multiple different languages, and could market himself with strictly winning.

We’re not sure why Kobe wouldn’t still be the focus of their brand, as a five-time champion. So, with Mamba Shoes, he would’ve immediately left Nike; who still owned the trademark for the Kobe sneaker. He would’ve been a direct competitor to that brand, as well as multiple players we’re sure that would’ve joined him at Mamba.

The players still look up to Kobe as their rightful King of the NBA. With those talents seeking to pair up with a person who has their best interest, this would’ve created a major problem for that sneaker apparel company. You can create your own conspiracies. . . .

  • Share this :