Prior to Kobe Bryant’s untimely death nearly a year ago, the basketball legend intended to make his mark in other areas of the sports world. One of his alleged planned ventures was to create his own sneaker brand, according to entrepreneur and co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop, Shervin Pishevar.
Pishevar took to Twitter on Tuesday (Dec. 29) to reveal that the late baller was in talks to end his current partnership and do his own thing.
“I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn’t happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020. Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players,” he wrote. “He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career.”
The entrepreneur then followed up with a post of the sketch he designed for Bryant’s shoe, which would have included a tracker meant to connect to a Mamba fitness app complete with integrated coaching and other motivational features.
When a fan asked why the Black Mamba was unhappy with his sneaker collaboration, Pishevar blamed it on his partner’s “marketing and promotion commitment to Kobe’s line.”
“And the sales of his shoes were anemic,” he added, noting, “He retained tight control” because he wanted to keep track of his shoes’ designs.
Despite Bryant’s alleged reservations, his new Kobe 6 Protro “Grinch” sneakers sold out almost immediately after they went on sale on Christmas Eve. To appease fans who were unable to get their hands on a pair, Vanessa Bryant announced she was working on an idea for them “to have a better opportunity to get some Kobe’s.”
“We came up with an idea and we’re waiting for COVID- stay-at-home orders to lift,” she said at the time. “Stay tuned. Happy holidays.”