Kobe Bryant’s death, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a tragic helicopter accident on Sunday morning, has sparked numerous tributes and an outpouring of love and support to those effected by the crash.
Fans in L.A. have flocked to Staples Center as well as the Lakers training facility to pay homage to Bryant and share in their collective grief, swapping stories and just remembering the legend taken at just 41 years old. It’s been beautiful to see the coming together of the NBA community, but as can happen there are those that will look to profit off of fans’ grief and their desire to honor Kobe with merchandise and memorabilia.
Nike appears to be wary of that, and the sneaker giant has removed all Kobe merchandise — from sneakers to t-shirts and everything between — from Nike.com, as first noticed by Complex and confirmed by Jacques Slade. A search for Kobe on the website will direct you to the In Memory page, with a statement on Bryant’s legacy.
Along with millions of athletes and fans throughout the world, we are devastated by today’s tragic news. We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe and Gianna, especially their family and friends.
As we are learning more details of the accident and the others who have tragically lost their lives, our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone involved and impacted.
Kobe was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.
I can confirm this. After talking to people at Nike, there is talk about the “Championship” Protro still releasing on 2/7, but with so many things in flux, this could change. https://t.co/h1qMMJaKZR
— Jacques Slade (@kustoo) January 28, 2020
As Slade notes, Nike is currently having internal discussions about whether to move forward with the planned release of the Kobe 5 Protro “Championships” colorway on Feb. 7 or if they will postpone that. It is understandable why they would want to avoid appearing in any way to be trying to cash in on the death of Kobe, and they will surely be working directly with his family and team to make sure whatever they do next has their blessing and is handled properly.