Vanessa Bryant designs Nike show to launch on Kobe’s 45th birthday

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By Dan Sears

Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has designed a pair of Nike sneakers that the athletic apparel giant is planning to release on Aug. 23 — what would have been the NBA legend’s 45th birthday.

Both Nike and Vanessa teased the all-white sneakers, dubbed the Protro 8, in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“Kobe 8 ‘Halo’ 8.23.23 🤍 This will be one of many Kobe 8 “Halo” styles coming soon,” Vanessa captioned the post, which featured a video of the shoe’s silhouette.

Nike said in its post that the sneaker release “marks the continuation of a storied legacy … embodying the timeliness of an icon never forgotten.”

The Los Angeles Lakers great, who wore the No. 8, was tragically killed along with his one of his daughters and six others in a helicopter crash in 2020.

The Protro 8 sneakers, boasting a herringbone traction pattern, Nike’s swoosh embroidery and the Mamba logo on the tongue, will be available on Bryant’s birthday via the SNKRS app.

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In a press release on Thursday, Nike announced that the Halo line “will be an annual release that will honor and celebrate this special date.”


Vanessa Bryant and Nike collectively teased the Kobe 8 Halo sneakers this week, announcing that they would launch on Aug. 23, what would have been Kobe Bryant's 45th birthday.
Vanessa Bryant and Nike collectively teased the Kobe 8 Halo sneakers this week, announcing that they would launch on Aug. 23, what would have been Kobe Bryant’s 45th birthday.
Instagram/@vanessabryant

The white sneaker features Nike's iconic swoosh and Bryant's Mamba logo on the shoe's tongue.
The white sneaker features Nike’s iconic swoosh and Bryant’s Mamba logo on the shoe’s tongue.
NIKE

The release renews a partnership with Nike, which began in 2005 with the launch of the Zoom Kobe 1 and grew to include 13 pairs of sneakers Bryant modeled himself off and on the court, until his retirement in 2016.

Vanessa’s Halo model plays on the first Kobe 8 show released under his brand name in 2012.

“At the time of its release, the silhouette was the lightest in the Kobe line, following Kobe’s desire for a shoe that was like an extension of his foot.,” Nike said.

Nike declined to comment beyond the press release.

Following Bryant’s death, many fans wondered what would come of his partnership with Nike, which expired in 2021.


Bryan and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi passed away in a tragic helicopter accident in 2020. They are survived by Natalia, 20, Bianka, six, and Capri, four.
Bryan and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi passed away in a tragic helicopter accident in 2020. They are survived by Natalia, 20, Bianka, six, and Capri, four.
AFP via Getty Images

In March 2022, Vanessa announced that she struck a new deal with Nike that would allow the company to produce shoes in honor of Bryant and his daughter, Gigi Bryant, who was killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.

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Aside from Vanessa, Bryant and Gigi are survived by daughters Natalia, 20, Bianka, six, and Capri, four.

When Vanessa announced the renewed partnership with Nike, she said: “I am so proud that my husband’s shoes are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that the demand for his shoes remain so desired by his fans around the world.”

“With this new partnership, fans will soon be able to have access to Kobe and Gigi Nike product for years to come and with Nike donating 100% of the net proceeds yearly for Gianna’s shoes to our Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (M&MSF).”

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