Venture capitalist and super angel investor Shervin Pishevar went on his Twitter page and revealed he’d met with Kobe Bryant in December 2019, one month before the NBA legend’s death, to talk about launching a new basketball sneaker company. It was supposedly going to be called “Mamba,” as an homage to Bryant’s classic moniker, and it was going to have a player-owned business model. He said that the venture would “eclipse [Kobe’s] sports career.”
Pat Benson, the author of the book Kobe Bryant’s Sneaker History (1996-2020), shared with Insider that it actually could have been “very likely” that Kobe was looking at life after Nike.
“Many of his fans were upset with Nike’s handling of his signature line following his retirement. It feels redeeming that Kobe was unhappy about it too,” Benson said. “A player-owner sneaker brand? It’s a revolutionary idea that what have put other major brands on their heels.”
In his posts, Pishevar provided a screenshot of the appointment in his calendar and a photo of Kobe posing with Usain Bolt‘s agent Gina Ford, naming her as one of the “witnesses to the meeting and Kobe’s plans.” He also showed off images of the shoe designs and said that the shoe has a tracker linked to a fitness app replete with motivational content and coaching material. He even said that he chose to share the news on the one year anniversary of his purported meeting with Kobe.
But not everyone believes the claims are sincere, and some are calling them to be in questionable taste. Former ESPN Sports analyst Darren Rovell replied to the tweet, saying it was nothing more than an ordinary discovery session: “[Kobe] took a damn pitch meeting. The shoe wasn’t his shoe idea. That’s all it was. Let’s not make this like it was a far down the road project. It wasn’t.” Twitter account
Neither Nike nor Kobe Bryant’s estate has issued any comment about Pishevar’s statements.