Nike honors Gigi Bryant on her 16th birthday with shoe release

Nike paid tribute to Gianna Bryant on Sunday, which would have been her 16th birthday.

By releasing a full-page ad and debuting a video titled “Dear Gianna,” Nike paid tribute to Kobe Bryant’s daughter ahead of its new shoe release, the “Mambacita Sweet 16.”

“From the first time you imagined winning a WNBA championship, I knew one thing was real: you were special,” says the video, which is meant to be a basketball love letter.

“You came from greatness, but it was never about what you inherited. It was about what you gave to others. When someone stands up for gender equality, I see you fight by her side. And whenever someone plays her the hardest, I know it’s you on the court. I always love you, Basketball.

Gigi, Kobe and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California in 2020. Gigi dreamed of reaching the WNBA and was even an honorary draft pick, along with two of her teammates, in the months following their death. The league has since launched the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, intended to honor those who champion both the WNBA and women’s basketball — something Kobe was extremely passionate about after his playing career ended. The league presented the inaugural award to Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul earlier this year.

The new “Mambacita Sweet 16” shoe is the first under Nike’s new contract with Bryant Estate. All proceeds will go directly to the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation. The shoes are actually extremely difficult to obtain. It was only released for SNKRS app users or select Nike members in the Southern California area, and resale values ​​skyrocketed immediately.

The ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ shoes dropped on Sunday, which would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday. (Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

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