Nike pays tribute to Kobe Bryant at Olympic 2020 unveiling event

Nike (NKE) unveiled its 2020 Olympic line last night at Hudson Yards, in New York City. But the sportswear giant also paid tribute to the memory of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Six children quietly took the stage clad in Bryant’s number 8 and 24 Lakers jerseys. You could hear a pin drop in theater, which was packed with some of the biggest names in the sports, fashion and entertainment worlds, including Drake, Travis Scott, designer Virgil Abloh, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, as well as new Nike CEO John Donahoe.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05:(L - R) Edward Enninful, Virgil Abloh, Rosalia, Drake, John Donahoe and Gabby Douglas attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympic collection fashion show at The Shed on February 05, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

The audience was somber and reflective, and after a few moments of silence, the children slowly made their way off stage, and the performance segment of the evening began with runway models in Nike gear performing a stylish dance number. During the performance, the children returned to the middle of the stage area, side by side with other legendary athletes, including soccer phenom Brandi Chastain and basketball great Lisa Leslie. 

RELATED: Take look at Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna: 

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna
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NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference kisses daughter Gianna Bryant during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch during the U.S. national championships swimming meet Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 29: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 29: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 29: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 27: Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
IRVINE, CA - JULY 26: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant watch during day 2 of the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships at the Woollett Aquatics Center on July 26, 2018 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Gianna Bryant, daughter of Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference, handles the ball during warm ups before the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference warms up with daughter Gianna Bryant during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Since the NBA legend’s tragic death, sales of Bryant’s shoes have skyrocketed on the secondary market. In fact, the demand for Kobe related merchandise was so high that Nike sold out of all its Bryant products.

Bryant, who began his NBA career with an Adidas contract, moved to Nike 2003 when the Lakers All-Star bought out his contract for a reported $8 million and signed a $40 million deal with the swoosh brand.   

By the end of his career in 2016, Bryant had 11 signature models in total with Nike.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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