Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant estate end 18-year partnership with Nike

After 18 years, Kobe Bryant’s long-held partnership with Nike has come to an end.

Vanessa Bryant, the late basketball star’s widow, and the Kobe Bryant estate confirmed on Monday that the contract would not be renewed after his five-year, post-retirement contract ended April 13.

“Kobe and Nike have made some of the most beautiful basketball shoes of all time, worn and adored by fans and athletes in all sports across the globe,” Vanessa Bryant told ESPN. “It seems fitting that more NBA players wear my husband’s product than any other signature shoe.”

The Los Angeles Lakers legend first signed with the global athletic brand in 2003 after previously being partnered with Adidas under a six-year contract.

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Together, Bryant and Nike released 11 signature shoes, such as Zoom Huarache 2K4, Hyperdunk and Kobe 4s.

PHOTO: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers holds his T-shirt during a clinic Friday, July 24, 2009, in Hong Kong.

“Kobe Bryant was an important part of Nike’s deep connection to consumers,” Nike shared with “GMA” in a statement. “He pushed us and made everyone around him better. Though our contractual relationship has ended, he remains a deeply loved member of the Nike family.”

Vanessa Bryant expressed her hope is to allow Kobe’s fans to always have access to his products.

“I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything,” she said.

“I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy,” she continued. “We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”

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