To mark what would have been Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday, Nike released a special “Mambacita Sweet 16” pair of shoes on the first of May.
“I’m so happy with the way these Mambacita shoes came out in honor of my daughter, Gigi,” wrote Vanessa Bryant on Instagram.
“The ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ is inspired by her resilient spirit and the
love she had, not only for the game, but for her family, friends and community,” reads the description written by Bryant included in the box. “Part of her legacy is about building a better future for all girls and women in sport, one step at a time.”
The shoes feature a black snakeskin pattern meant to represent “Gigi’s Mambacita Mentality.” Vanessa Bryant hopes that the shoes and what they stand for can encourage everyone to embody the Mambacita Mentality by doing things like seizing opportunities and finding “your own joy.”
In January 2020, Gianna and her father, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, were tragically killed in a helicopter crash along with seven others. Gianna, like her father, was a basketball player who aspired to one day play in the WNBA. In March, Vanessa Bryant reached new deal with Nike to continue producing sneakers and apparel from the late basketball star’s signature line, including a shoe to honor her late daughter Gianna, according to MarketWatch.
“The Kobe 6 Protro’ Mambacita Sweet 16′ honors the legacy that Kobe and Gianna’ Gigi’ Bryant built,” wrote Nike in a statement about the shoe’s release. “One that propelled all generations to continue their quest to be better, for themselves and for the game that unites us all.”
According to Nike, the proceeds from the shoes will benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to honoring Kobe’s and Gianna’s legacies by supporting underserved athletes.
The Mamba Mambacita Foundation says that the shoe sold out just two minutes after its release.