Retail

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's widow, to launch Mambacita clothing line

Key Points
  • Vanessa Bryant, widow of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, announced Friday on Instagram the launch of the Mambacita clothing line May 1, with proceeds going to her foundation.
  • Earlier this month, it was announced that Kobe Bryant's estate and Nike had parted ways after a long relationship together.
  • Mambacita was the nickname of Kobe and Vanessa's daughter Gianna, who died along with Kobe in a Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash, and May 1 would have been Gianna's 15th birthday.

Just weeks after announcing that Kobe Bryant's estate has parted ways with Nike, the late NBA star's widow, Vanessa Bryant, announced on Friday the introduction of her Mambacita clothing line.

Bryant said on her Instagram account that she will release the collection May 1, what would have been the 15th birthday of Gianna, or "Gigi," Kobe and Vanessa's daughter who died along with Kobe in a Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash.

Bryant said that 100% of the proceeds will go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, the nonprofit started in the memory of Kobe and Gigi to benefit underserved youth in sports.

Gigi's nickname was Mambacita.

It's unclear whether this is the beginning of a bigger launch, but Bryant said that unisex and children's sizes will be available. The website offering the collection was down Friday afternoon, saying "internal error."

Since May 2020, the Kobe Bryant estate has filed more than a dozen trademark applications, according to Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney and founder of Gerben Intellectual Property. "Over the past year, Vanessa Bryant, via a corporate entity in Kobe's name, has been making trademark filings which indicate a desire to build a brand around Kobe and Gianna's legacy," he said.

Gerben said three trademarks are used in the pictures she posted that include the word Mambacita, the M logo and the 2 hearts logo. "Based on trademark filing activity ... I would also expect to see more products launched soon," he said.

"Ultimately, creating a clothing and footwear brand without a large corporate partner will be challenging. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility, but there are challenges on the business side that make a partnership with an established company still seem like a strong possibility," Gerben said.

Vanessa Bryant and Nike were at odds, according to sources. She was unhappy with the lack of availability of his products, a strategy shoe companies often use to spur demand. On April 20, Bryant told fans that despite leaving Nike, her hope is that Kobe's fans will be able to wear his products for years to come.

"I will continue to fight for that," she said in the post. "Kobe's products sell out in seconds. That says everything."

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