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Vanessa Bryant wants to know how someone obtained a pair of custom shoes she designed in honor of her late daughter, Gianna.
The sneakers, originally designed by Vanessa in collaboration with Nike, were not approved for production. But a picture of the MAMBACITA shoe has appeared online in an Instagram post.
She also posted on Instagram, asking for answers.
Gianna, also known as Gigi, died last year in a helicopter crash with her father, basketball star Kobe Bryant. The MAMBACITA was designed by Vanessa Bryant, working with the sports brand, as an extension of the Kobe Bryant Nike collection. The names of both father and daughter appear on the heel of the shoe to honor their lives.
But Vanessa pulled out of the Nike deal, meaning the MAMBACITA shoes should not have reached the public.
"I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting our @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes," she wrote. "Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls. I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi and we don't. I hope these shoes did not get sold. @nike."
A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
The design choices were personal, meaning the leak was upsetting for the grieving mother. Vanessa "picked the colors in honor of [Gigi's] uniform, the number 2 she wore just like her uniform, the pattern inside, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe's signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo)."
Nike has not yet released a statement in response to the allegations, but Vanessa has asked her followers to help her.
"It appears someone already has Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoe in their possession. If someone can share how they have these shoes in their possession, that would be great because my daughters and I don’t have any of Gigi’s MAMBACITA shoes," she said.
Fans shared their heartbreak over her situation with one commenting, "I am so sorry this happened to you and your family. You did design beautiful shoes."
It's unclear how the shoes reached the public and it may well have been an error, but our hearts go out to Vanessa Bryant. She has lost a child and her husband, aged just 39. She first paid homage to Kobe with a tattoo. One the anniversary of the crash, she shared a heartbreaking letter sent by a friend of Gigi's, writing on Instagram "I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings. It still doesn’t seem real. Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you!".
Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.
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