Kobe Bryant may have been preparing to leave Nike and start his own shown shoe company before his untimely death in January. According to Shervin Shervin Pishevar, an Iranian-American entrepreneur and co-founder of transportation technology company Virgin Hyperloop, he and Bryant were in talks to develop his own shoe company called “Mamba.”
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, Pishevar wrote, “I met with Kobe Bryant in late December 2019. Kobe wasn’t happy with Nike and was going to leave it in 2020. Kobe was going to start Mamba, a shoe company owned by players. He passed away weeks later. What he was about to do in business was going to eclipse his sports career.”
Pishevar also revealed a prototype of the shoe and added, “These were the designs my team did to show him that day for an independent Mamba shoe company. Here’s calendar details. There were witnesses to the meeting and Kobe’s plans like Gina Ford, who manages Usain Bolt.”
2/ These were the designs my team did to show him that day for an independent Mamba shoe company. Here’s calendar details. There were witnesses to the meeting and Kobe’s plans like Gina Ford, who manages Usain Bolt. pic.twitter.com/PgsIDt0P0E
— Shervin (@shervin) December 29, 2020
Pishevar also claimed that Bryant blamed Nike for the decline in his sneaker sales and wasn’t happy with some of the company’s marketing. Bryant’s Mamba logo was yet to be put on the shoe, which was described as a slip-on with a snake-like texture. Bryant previously had an endorsement deal with Adidas prior to Nike.
Pishevar claims he posted the information to celebrate the one-year anniversary since the meeting occurred. He added on Twitter, “It’s about the 1 year anniversary of when I met him for over 2 hours. It made me reflect on the greatness that he exuded that day. After, he came out to my car to give me the volumes of a children’s book he wrote. He was in full bloom of the full realization of his talents.”
Bryant would tragically die weeks later on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people.