"The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale," Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram

By Hanna Flanagan
June 03, 2021 06:15 PM
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Vanessa Bryant
Credit: John Salangsang/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

Vanessa Bryant is calling out Nike for allegedly producing her sentimental sneaker design without her consent.

Bryant took to social media after discovering that a pair of shoes she designed in collaboration with the brand to honor 13-year-old daughter Gianna — who died with Kobe Bryant and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash in January 2020 — have seemingly been leaked.

In an Instagram statement posted on Thursday morning, the 39-year-old mom (who also shares daughter Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1, with the late NBA legend) said she "worked hard" on the black-and-white "MAMBACITA" sneakers, which are an exclusive colorway of Kobe's iconic design.

"I picked the colors to honor her [basketball] uniform," Vanessa wrote. She went on to share that the unreleased sneakers feature both Kobe and Gianna's names on the back and are emblazoned with a gold number 2 to represent her daughter's jersey number.

Vanessa then slammed Nike, claiming that the MAMBACITA shoes are "NOT approved for sale" despite the fact that at least one person was already able to get their hands on a pair.

Nike did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

"In the 2nd photo, it appears someone already has Gigi's MAMBACITA shoe in their possession," she captioned the post. "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."

"I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefiting [Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation] but did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes," Vanessa further explained, clarifying that the leaked sneakers were never approved by her.

"Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls. I do not know how someone else has their hand on shoes I designed to honor my daughter, Gigi...I hope these shoes did not get sold @nike," she concluded.

On her Instagram Story, Vanessa shared a screenshot of a tweet from Bleacher Report Kicks that states the shoes will be released later this year.

She also reposted a photo from the account, KicksOnCourt, of Milwaukee Bucks player Khris Middleton wearing the sneakers during a game over the weekend. The account labeled the design, the Nike Kobe 6 Protro "Mamba Forever." It's unclear if Nike plans to officially sell the shoes.