The Upsetting Reason Why Nike Pulled All Kobe Bryant Merchandise From Its Website

If you were looking forward to nabbing a pair of Kobe 5 Protro “Championships” colorway sneakers, there is a chance you could be out of luck.

According to sources, Nike has made the conscious decision to remove all Kobe Bryant-related merchandise from its online store following the NBA star’s tragic death and the reason behind this choice actually makes a ton of sense.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Resellers were trying to profit off the NBA star’s tragic passing

In the wake of Bryant’s unexpected death, Nike has decided to pull all his merchandise from its online store.

According to ESPN, the only Kobe-related items available for purchase are two Los Angeles Lakers-themed Nike gift cards. For those users who try to search up “Kobe” on the Nike website, they are redirected to the brand’s memorial statement, which highlights the company’s devastation over Bryant’s passing.

On January 26, the NBA star was tragically killed in a helicopter crash along with eight other individuals, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Since his death, millions of people around the globe have been sporting his merch, especially his iconic No. 24 Lakers jersey.

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While Nike’s statement doesn’t go into detail on why it decided to pull all Kobe-related merch from its site, sources recently explained the company’s reasoning behind this tactic.

ESPN reveals that the merchant chose to pull all of Bryant’s products from its website because they’re against the idea of the company and resellers profiting off of the NBA star’s death.

It turns out that there are people out there who are using the late celebrity’s tragic passing as an opportunity to make some money.

Business Insider reports that just 24 hours after news of Bryant’s death came to light, resale sites increased the value of his merchandise substantially, with some products now going for more than $1,000 online.

With this being the harsh reality we live in, Nike has taken the necessary approach to limit reselling at an increased price.

In addition to Nike, several consignment stores around the country have also taken Kobe-related merchandise off of their sites.

“We will not be selling any Kobes till further notice,” sneaker consignment shop, RIF LA, recently announced in a statement. “All Kobes have been pulled off the floor and all online orders have been refunded.”

Bryant had been collaborating with Nike for years

Before he passed, Bryant was a “beloved member of the Nike family” and had worked closely with the band’s executives, designers, and developers since joining the company in 2003.

Over the years, the NBA star had not only been an endorsing athlete at Nike, he was also very much involved in the creative process of his products and was ready to release a new pair of sneakers alongside the company.

According to ESPN, Nike was prepared to launch the Kobe 5 Protro colorways (the white, black and trophy gold edition) on February 7, but is now having an internal discussion on whether or not to postpone the sneakers’ release.

In addition to not wanted resellers to get their hands on this new product, Nike has been using this time to mourn the death of their dear friend and collaborator.

Just like fans, the company’s global offices are understandably distraught by news of Bryant’s passing and are finding it hard to come to terms with this outcome.

“Kobe was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball,” the brand’s recent statement read. “He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.”

It seems like it’ll be a while before Nike decides to sell Kobe-related merchandise on its website again.

While they had a good reason to remove all of the late NBA player’s products, we hope they find ways to honor Bryant’s legacy without aiding those money hunger resellers.