Sportress of Blogitude

Kobe Bryant merchandise unavailable on Nike site

As the NBA world continues to mourn the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, there was news that Nike made the decision to pull all items related to the icon from its online store. However, subsequent information reported Tuesday morning suggests that may not have exactly been the case.

Nike company sources confirmed to ESPN on Monday that all Kobe-related merchandise was made unavailable for purchase. Further, the company is said to be “reevaluating its ongoing strategy for releasing Bryant’s signature shoe series” in the wake of his passing, as relayed by Nick DePaula of ESPN.

The decision is believed to be inspired by Nike’s reluctance to allow resellers to stockpile Bryant merchandise and then sell it at a significant markup on the secondary market.

A search for Bryant merchandise on Nike’s online site redirects customers to an “In Memory: Kobe Bryant” page on the site. The only available item listed as related to the late superstar available from Nike as of Monday was Lakers logo gift card.

According to a tweet from Darren Rovell of Action Sports Network, though, the reason for the unavailability of Bryant merchandise on Nike’s site is due to the items selling out amid his death, not a deliberate decision to pull it.

Bryant obviously had a longtime relationship with Nike, and his partnership with the global brand went beyond simply endorsing products. The Lakers legend was said to have been deeply involved with Nike’s development of items that bore his name behind the scenes, influencing the company at all levels since joining the brand in 2003.

“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.”