Nike has reportedly sold out of all Kobe Bryant-related products in its online store, despite previous reports that the company would refrain from selling his merchandise in the wake of his death.
ESPN reported on Jan. 27 that Nike representatives had said they would temporarily stop selling jerseys, shirts, shoes and other products tied to the 41-year-old NBA star. The announcement came one day after Bryant died in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
The company, which had been in business with Bryant since 2003, had reportedly told ESPN it was removing the merchandise in order to avoid secondhand sellers from buying the items and selling them at a much higher price. As Complex pointed out, searches for the term "Kobe" on the retailer’s website led users to a memorial page instead.
But on Jan. 28, Forbes and several other outlets reported that the merch had actually sold out completely, a reversal from the previously believed reason that fans could not find Bryant’s jerseys and shoes online. ESPN also updated its story based on the new information, noting that Nike would be reevaluating its short-term strategy for products related to the NBA great.
"He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever," Nike’s "In Memory" page said of Bryant.
Other sellers have also taken efforts to prevent people from profiting from Bryant’s tragic death. Urban Necessities, which sells Nike products in its popular online and brick-and-mortar stores, said it would “not allow price changes on Kobe items that are consigned.”
Meanwhile, the online reseller StockX said in a statement that it would donate the proceeds from all Bryant-related merchandise this week — with the money going to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
Bryant won five NBA titles during his NBA career, which he played entirely with the Lakers. He reportedly died while traveling with Gianna to one of her basketball games.