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Nike releases 'Mambacita Sweet 16' shoe on Gianna Bryant's 16th birthday

Sunday marked what would have been Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant's 16th birthday.

WASHINGTON — Editor's note: The attached video is from the two-year anniversary of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and seven others.

On what would have been Gianna "Gigi" Bryant's 16th birthday, Nike on Sunday released a special pair of shoes in her honor, along with a 60-second ad. 

The Kobe 6 Protro 'Mambacita Sweet 16' shoe features a snakeskin pattern that represents "Gigi's Mambacita Mentality," according to a note that comes with the shoe from Vanessa Bryant, Gianna's mother and Kobe Bryant's widow.

"It reminds us all to focus on the process and to always trust in the work that we do," the message continued. 

Gianna, Kobe Bryant and seven others were killed in January 2020 during a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  

The shoe, which was only available for purchase through exclusive access via the SNKRS app, sold out in just two minutes, according to an Instagram post from the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Proceeds from the shoe benefits the foundation. 

In addition to the 60-second ad marking Gianna's 16th birthday, Nike put out a full-page ad that features the extended love letter from "Basketball." 

"Dear Gianna, from the first time you imagined winning a WNBA championship, I knew one thing was real: You were special," the Nike ad begins

The 'Mambacita' shoe is part of a new partnership between Nike and the Bryant family. 

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2017 file photo, from left, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, wife Vanessa are seen before a Connecticut-UCLA NCAA women's basketball game in Los Angeles.

The previous partnership had reportedly ended because Kobe Bryant's estate had grown tired of Nike limiting products during his retirement and after his death.

Last June, Vanessa Bryant called out Nike when versions of the 'Mambacita' shoe appeared online without her permission. At the time, she said she had worked on it in honor of her daughter, Gianna, but it was not approved for sale then.  

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