Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Bryant, Nike Turn Heads Again, Hopefully Not Ankles

Kobe Bryant is once again a marketing star. Look no further than the next edition of his latest Nike shoe called the Zoom Kobe V, which launches in China on Jan. 1 and in the United States on Jan. 16.

Playing off last year’s so-called daring move to shift to a low-cut shoe, the Los Angeles Lakers guard is taking out more “ankle insurance” this year with a shoe that’s lower and lighter.

Source: Nike

We went one-on-one with Bryant to talk about the Zoom Kobe V.

Darren: We know you love soccer and you really want to be wearing something as low as a soccer cleat, but there were some critics who said last year that there’s a reason why a basketball shoe has been constructed like it has in the past. Why are you guys pushing the envelope more?

Bryant: What we try to do is challenge each other to make a shoe that’s better than the next. Some people might see it as more risk. To us, it’s just doing what we do. We sat down and asked how can we build something that will help me perform better?

Darren: Nike has to love this because basketball shoes are now seen as kind of clunky to wear with jeans. These low tops are performance shoes but they are also more in line with the fashion these days.

Nike's Zoom Kobe V
Source: Nike

Bryant: It’s just one of those things that worked out. You go back to the Air Force 1’s. That was a performance shoe, but it also became a lifestyle shoe. The same holds true for the Zoom Kobe IV’s and V’s.

Darren: The Kobe and LeBron puppets are back for another year. We checked them out. LeBron’s puppet looks the same, but I have to say, your puppet looks different. Looks like they changed some of the facial hair. The hair line is pulled back a bit.

Bryant: Ha! I think they're just making sure he looks like he's 31. I think the whole puppet thing is great.

Darren: Last year, you did a YouTube "Ankle Insurance" campaign. Besides the puppets, what crazy viral stuff will we see you do for this shoe.

Bryant: We have some things cooking.

Questions?  Comments?

Related Tags