Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

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After a rocky road concerning the future of Kobe Bryant’s Nike line, a new athlete will be leading the charge.

While many players still rock Bryant’s signature lowcut in today’s NBA, DeMar DeRozan will hold a special place in the line’s heart.

DeRozan –who made his name in Toronto but has since played for the Spurs and now the Chicago Bulls– will be the face of the Laker legend’s line. According to NBA insider Shams Charania, it has all been inked in a multi-year deal.

“Fresh off making All-NBA second team, Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is signing a new four-year deal with Nike that keeps him as the featured face of Kobe Bryant’s iconic line, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted.

However, per a screenshot from Nice Kicks, Charania’s verbiage may be false because Vanessa Bryant chimed in after the news leaked.

“False,” she wrote in an Instagram comment. “He is not the face of the Kobe line. No one is.”

While DeRozan may not be the face, being heavily involved in the Kobe line is undoubtedly exciting for someone who grew up watching him play. So last year, he sat down with Showtime’s All The Smoke podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Steph Jackson to talk about how much Bryant means to him.

 

“For me, Kobe was my imagination,” DeRozan told Jackson and Barnes over video conference. “Obviously, as I got older and was able to look at Michael Jordan, he became one of my favorite players, but… Growing up, when I started to understand and comprehend basketball at a young age, it was from Kobe and being a Lakers fan. We didn’t have cable; all we had was channel KCAL 9, so I watched every Laker game. Kobe was the player that I gravitated to, so for me to see the start, the fails… gave me an emotional connection to one of my favorite players.”

Details on how the Compton native will play a role in possible new Nike releases in Kobe’s name have yet to be revealed.