Demand for the merchandise has been brisk following the sudden death of the basketball megastar. A Nike spokesman confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that the merchandise had sold out. No Kobe Bryant items were pulled from being sold and Nike didn’t ask retailers to send them back, as had been previously reported.
Nike’s physical stores have also seen a rush on Kobe Bryant items, a source told USA TODAY.
The company is also reconsidering the release of Bryant’s signature shoe series to limit reselling and price gouging, a source told ESPN. Some sneaker consignment stores said they are either locking in existing prices or temporarily pulling Bryant merchandise. “We will not be selling any Kobes till further notice,” RIF Los Angeles announced in a statement. “All Kobes have been pulled off the floor and all online orders have been refunded.”
The front page of Nike’s website has now been turned into a memorial page for the Los Angeles Lakers star.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe, especially his family and friends,” Nike said in a statement. “He was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sports and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.”
Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday (Jan. 26). The athlete has been one of Nike’s biggest basketball stars since 2003. Signature Kobe sneakers were still being released by Nike even after the star’s 2016 retirement from the NBA.
Over 100 NBA players wear Kobe Bryant’s sneakers on the courts, ESPN reported.
Aside from being a basketball phenomenon, the 41-year-old was also a well-known businessman, and leaves behind a strong legacy of savvy investing and mentoring. He launched the venture capital firm Bryant Stibel in 2013 with Web.com Founder Jeff Stibel. The firm currently holds over $2 billion in assets.