Skip to main content

Before He Died, Kobe Bryant Expressed A Desire To Leave Nike And Start His Own Player-Owned Shoe Company



Kobe Bryant was looking into starting his own shoe company “Mamba” with Shervin Pishevar, one of the minds behind Uber. Kobe was allegedly displeased with Nike and sought to have the Mamba brand be player owned. Unfortunately, due to his untimely death, the world never got to see Bryant’s dream come to fruition.

Pishevar released the details of the operation in a recent tweet he sent out. In the thread, he showed images of concept designs for a pair of sneakers for the Mamba brand. The shoes were intended to be made so that they would connect to an app which “integrated coaching/motivational features.”

It is sad to see the things Kobe was planning to do before he suddenly passed. The player-owned aspect of the business sounds like Bryant had a desire to give back to NBA players and other athletes. It would have allowed his would-have-been company’s operations to be dictated by the very athletes who support it, not just people behind the scenes.

There may be hope in this idea, given the strength of the NBA Players Association, collective action is very much part of NBA players’ mentality. It would be affirming to see this partiality to collectivism translate into ownership and business, both for the players and for Kobe’s memory.