Despite the estate of Kobe Bryant declining to renew his contract with Nike, sneakers from his signature line continue to roll out. This Friday, Undefeated is releasing a pair of Kobe 5 Protros commemorating his posthumous induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. And as new images have revealed, Nike has yet another honorific pair coming down the pipeline.
The Kobe 6 Protro will drop in a new “Mamba Forever” rendition honoring the memory of the late basketball player and his daughter Gigi. Instead of Lakers purple and yellow, the kicks are done up in the same black and gold used for Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy, which was renamed Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation after the tragic death of the two Bryants.
Adorning each heel is the logo for the foundation, as well as Kobe’s name on the left shoe and Gigi’s on the right. Both pairs also feature the number “2” Gigi played in.
There may not be many Kobe sneakers left — With Nike and Bryant’s partnership coming to an end last month, the sportswear giant said it would put releases for his sneakers on pause. The exception, it seems, are shoes that were already in the works. But there may not be many left unless the Bryant estate is able to come to new terms with Nike. And if the “Mamba Forever” Kobe 6 Protro is indeed one of the last, it would be part of a heartfelt sendoff for the iconic sneaker line.
In addition to the details honoring Gigi and Bryant’s foundation, the sneaker features a snakelike texture on the upper customary to the Kobe line. The Swoosh appears as if it were spray painted directly onto the tactile treatment, and the sockliner features an even more striking black and white snake print.
It could be dropping this summer — Nike will reportedly release the “Mamba Forever” Kobe 6 Protro at some point this summer, although nothing has been confirmed. We also have to acknowledge the remote chance Nike doesn’t go forward with the release, and the leaked images are just that.