On Tuesday morning, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, Shervin Pishevar made headlines when tweeting out numerous tweets, stating Kobe Bryant had plans to leave Nike.
Pishevar revealed that Kobe Bryant met with him in late 2019 to talk about possibly ending his relationship with Nike. In order to start his own shoe company called “Mamba,” owned by the players, according to Pishevar.
Apparently, Bryant was not happy with how the sneaker conglomerate was marketing and promoting his sneaker line. “He wasn’t happy with Nike’s marketing and promotion commitment to Kobe’s line. And the sales of his shoes were anemic and he blamed Nike. He retained tight control because he didn’t trust Nike’s judgment in design,” said Pishevar.
Per Pishevar, they were supposed to roll this idea out something in 2020, but with Bryant passing away in early 2020, so did the dream of owning his own sneaker company.
But, what if Bryant was able to pull that off, would he have had more athletes join his “Mamba” brand?
According to former Los Angeles Laker and Puma athlete Cedric Ceballos, numerous players would have followed Bryant in his new venture. Ceballos is also a cousin of the late-great Kobe Bryant.
“A lot of people would have [gone] with him in whatever venture he went to. Just because they grew, and he was their Michael Jordan. You see how many players wear his shoes now in the game. They are a drop item; they have a new Kobe shoe coming out just like Jordan’s. People will rush to it and try to grab it, and I’m not sure if he is second on the notch of desirable shoes, but he has to be at least top five,” Ceballos shared.
“So, a lot of people would have gone with him in his ventures. I think it is so classic because of the money made off of sneakers and the buzz off that. The fact that he would own that it would have been great. Look at what Baron Davis and Master P are trying to do with Reebok. I think that is great, and there is no reason we shouldn’t have an opportunity to own our own shoes. Shaq has been doing it for years, Stephon Marbury has also done it for years.”
Those are not the only players that have started their own shoe lines. Lavar Ball also opted to start his own brand “The Big Baller” Brand.
“Obviously the Big Baller Brand stepping up and making the high dollar at the high end prices. People are buying them, they are not selling out like the Jordan’s or maybe the Kobe’s where people are going crazy over them like that, but when they have pop-up shops they don’t have an item left. It’s a great start, and with both Ball brothers playing like they have it is just an asset. LiAngelo Ball was released by the Detroit Pistons, but to have that genre that of individuals, and they are not even playing. They are not even planning on wearing that shoe,” Ceballos said.
“Young fella [LaMelo Ball] is with Puma with us, and I think the oldest [Lonzo Ball] is currently a free agent. However, the Big Baller Brand will follow them, and it is going to take a lot of advertisement, marketing to get people to forget to say “Big Baller Brand” when mention any of ‘ The Ball Family Members'”