UConn and LSU are among six basketball programs honoring late NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi Bryant during the upcoming season.
Vanessa Bryant, wife of Kobe and mother of Gigi, announced the partnership with the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Players from each of the six schools will wear Kobe and Gigi’s Nike shoes throughout the 2023-24 season. Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash alongside seven others in January 2020.
Nike released a signature shoe in honor of Gigi in May 2022, the Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16,” with the shoe’s profits going to the foundation.
In addition to UConn and LSU, Oregon, Kentucky, Duke and USC are part of the partnership. All six of the schools have sponsorship deals with Nike.
“We are grateful for the amazing support of these prestigious universities (in no particular order) toward the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation — to further the legacies of Kobe and Gigi,” Bryant said in an Instagram post. “So excited to see their players wearing Kobe and Gigi’s NIKE shoes this upcoming season!!!”
Gigi dreamed of playing for UConn, and the Huskies have continued to honor Gigi’s memory. Kobe and Gigi attended a game together at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion in 2019.