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Why Vanessa Bryant is looking for these ‘unauthorized’ shoes

Vanessa Bryant recently called out Nike over ‘unauthorized’ shoes that honored her late daughter

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Vanessa Bryant speaks about Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles.

In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo, Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

Vanessa Bryant has called out Nike over a pair of “unauthorized” shoes that honor her late daughter Gianna Bryant.

Vanessa Bryant and the search for ‘Mambacita’ shoes

Vanessa Bryant said the shoes were released even though they were not manufactured or sold on the market. And yet, someone got their hands on the shoes.

  • “This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna. It was going to be called the MAMBACITA shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes,” Bryant said in an Instagram post.
  • The term “Mambacita” is a nod to Gianna’s father, Kobe Bryant, who went by the nickname “Black Mamba.” Kobe and Gianna Bryant both died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

Vanessa Bryant said she planned to sell the shoes to honor her daughter. But the Bryant family did not decide to re-up its deal with Nike. This means the shoes aren’t for sale and shouldn’t be available, she said.

  • “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 and decided not to sell these shoes. (The MAMBACITA shoes were not approved to be made in the first place),” she wrote. “I do not know how someone else has their hands on the shoes I designed for my daughter, Gigi and we don’t. I hope these shoes do not get sold.”

What do the shoes look like?

Per CBS News, the shoes are based on the popular Kobe Protro 6 model, which often sells out quickly. The shoes were made black and white because those were the same colors as Gianna’s basketball uniform.

  • The shoes have wings and butterflies with a halo inside, Vanessa Bryant explained in her social media post. Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant’s names are listed on the shoes, too.

Vanessa Bryant and the ‘Mambacita’ apparel

Back in May, Vanessa Bryant released a new “Mambacita” apparel line that would honor Gianna Bryant, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The apparel sold out within hours of its release.