Just over two years ago, the sportswear world was stunned by news that Nike and Kobe Bryant's estate were parting ways after not agreeing to terms on a new contract. In the months that followed, sales of Nike Kobe product on the resale market spiked and new retail releases slowed until none were left on the launch calendar. Almost a year later, Nike and Bryant's wife Vanessa announced a new deal that would allow Kobe's partnership with the company to continue long-term.
Since then, Nike has been very selective with the Kobe product it's released, limited to Kobe 4 and Kobe 6 retros inspired by Bryant's late daughter Gigi, an important aspect of Vanessa's decision to return to Nike. This year, it's been rumored that more Kobes are expected to release, particularly an all-white Kobe 8 that's been linked to Kobe Day on August 24 (8/24). Previously, there had been no confirmation of the launch, but today's Q4 Nike Earnings Call may have provided some insight into what's to come.
During the call, Nike CEO John Donahoe touched on the future of Kobe Bryant's signature line.
"It's going to be an exciting summer as we set the stage to relaunch the Kobe brand in advance of Kobe Day on 8.24," said Donahoe.
As of now, Nike hasn't clarified what exactly a relaunch means for the Kobe line, though one can assume it means a return to releasing product with some kind of regularity. The Kobe 4 is also expected to make a return to retail in a new colorway this holiday season and the Kobe 6 was issued to NBA players in an exclusive "Black History Month" make-up earlier this year.