Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Allen Berezovsky | Getty Images
While Kobe Bryant’s estate may have split up NikeBig plans may be in the works for the brand.
On Monday, Complex magazine first reported that Nike’s deal with the estate ended last Tuesday and a new agreement had not been signed.
“The documents would suggest Vanessa [Bryant] is building an IP portfolio for a new brand launch, “Gerben told CNBC.
Some of the most recent filings include trademark filings for the following: Play Gigi’s Way, Mamba and Mambacita, Baby Mambas and Mamba League. Gianna or “Gigi” was the name of Bryant’s daughter who died in the tragic crash of January 26, 2020. Her nickname was Mambacita.
A spokesman for the estate did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The records show that the brands will be used on everything from clothing, sportswear, loungewear to shoes. Gerben said these were filed with “intent,” which usually means an underlying deal could be planned.
This trademark application was filed by Kobe Bryant LLC in February. It shows a circle with a snake biting on the left side of the circle.
Source: US Trademark and Patent Office
It’s not just brands that the property is actively working on. The Mamba Sports Academy, to which Bryant and eight others traveled on the day of the crash, has since been renamed the Sports academyand withdrew the word “Mamba”.
“It was a mutual agreement made according to the wishes of his estate,” the academy said in a statement when the change took place in May.
“Vanessa – or the property – goes through and tries relatively methodically to protect the brand around Kobe and his daughter,” said Gerben.
The last trademark Kobe Inc. filed before his death was for “Mambacita” on December 30, 2019, just weeks before the crash. The last submission, “Play Gigi’s Way”, was dated March 10th.
This isn’t the first time Kobe has been suspected of trying to start his own company.
On December 29, 2020, Shervin Pishevar, an entrepreneur who co-founded Virgin’s Hyperloop, tweeted that he and Bryant had met and discussed the possibility of starting their own sneaker company, which would have been called Mamba.
Nike has made nearly 20 sneakers over the course of its 18-year partnership with Bryant. However, the contract language still allows Nike to sell Kobe Bryant shoes that were in the works before the contract ended on April 13, according to a person familiar with the Nike contract. Product launches are planned for the next several months, in addition to a May release tied to Bryant’s induction into the Hall of Fame.
“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection with consumers. He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Although our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a very beloved member of the Nike family,” the brand said in a statement on Monday.
Bryant first signed with the Swoosh in 2003 after starting his career as an Adidas endorser. In April 2016, he signed a five-year contract, which he carried out last Tuesday. BMO Capital Markets analysts have estimated the value of Kobe’s Nike business at around $ 250 million, but other analysts say that number may be high.
On Monday, Vanessa Bryant posted Stories on her Instagram, assuring fans that despite leaving Nike, she should hope that Kobe’s fans can wear his products for years to come. US Magazine reported.
“I will continue to fight for it,” she said in the post. “Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says it all.”
According to someone familiar with the situation, Vanessa Bryant was at a dispute with Nike over the company limiting the availability of Bryant’s products after his death.
BallerShoes DBMore than 100 players wore Bryant’s signature shoes in the 2019-20 season, making them the most popular shoe choice among players, according to a database that tracks sneakers. Still, Bryant’s sneakers don’t seem to have the same appeal to consumers as those of Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
Matt Powell, a senior industry advisor at NPD Group, said Kobe Bryant shoes have been a much more important brand in China than they are in the US in recent years.
“It’s not a significant loss for Nike,” he said.