Adidas is planning to re-release two of the sneakers Kobe Bryant wore while he was signed to the German sportswear brand through the late 1990s and early 2000s, sources familiar with the brand’s slate of upcoming releases tell Complex. In 2022 it will bring back the Kobe 1, his Adidas signature from 2001, and the EQT Elevation, a shoe he wore during his 1997 rookie season in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant sneaker releases have been met with scrutiny in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers icon’s death in January 2020. Some consumers have felt that Nike, the sneaker brand Bryant is most associated with, has not done enough to make his shoes available, and his estate has yet to enter into a new deal with the company since Bryant’s last one expired earlier this year.
Even while Bryant was still alive and signed to Nike, Adidas brought back his old shoes without actually using his name. It appears the brand will take a similar approach for these upcoming retros and market the shoes in a way that references him without using his name or likeness. As on previous retros of the models, the Kobe 1 will be called the Crazy 1 and the EQT Elevation will be called the Crazy 97 EQT. Barring some sort of partnership with Bryant’s estate, Adidas will likely look to avoid mentions of the basketball legend that are too explicit in the rollout of the sneakers.
Adidas has not announced the sneakers and a spokesperson declined to comment for this story. The images that appear here are leaks not authorized by the brand.
A brand document viewed by Complex shows that Adidas plans to release two versions of the Crazy 97 for next year’s NBA All-Star Game in February. The shoes have a special significance for that event: Bryant wore them during his 1997 win at the Slam Dunk Contest at that year’s All-Star Game in Cleveland, and next year’s All-Star Game will take place in Cleveland. The shoes will return in the original purple and yellow colorway Bryant wore (style number GY4520) and a new blue and orange one inspired by the 1997 NBA All-Star Game’s court and ticket stub (style number GY9125).
The same document lists two upcoming retro colorways of the Crazy 1, Bryant’s bulky signature shoe that was inspired by the Audi TT. The original yellow “Sunshine” pair is pegged as an April 2022 release (style number GY3808) tied to the McDonald’s All-American Game, an all-star event for high school basketball players. The other upcoming colorway depicted is the original white and black “Stormtrooper” version (style number GY3810).
Bryant signed with Adidas in 1996, becoming a marquee athlete at the brand before his professional basketball career even began. After his contract expired, he entered into a new deal with Nike in 2003 after a season of sneaker free agency that saw him wear a wide array of brands and styles. He remained a Nike athlete for the remainder of his professional career and after, releasing genre-defining shoes and memorable ad campaigns during his tenure with the Swoosh.