Nike Re-Signs Kobe
Wherever Kobe Bryant is playing, he'll be wearing Nikes. Sources are telling CNBC that Nike has re-signed the guard to a multi-year extension. The exact length of the deal and the terms are unknown. It is also not clear whether Bryant's contract would vary depending on the market in which he is playing. Although it was expected that Chinese sports and apparel company Li-Ning, which has Damon Jones and Bryant's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal under contract, would make a substantial bid for Bryant, sources say that it only got serious with Nike. Bryant signed a five-year deal with Nike worth $45 million in June 2003, a little more than a year after his six-year deal with Adidas expired.
About a month after Nike signed Bryant, he was charged with sexual assault.
While other companies chose not to renew Bryant's contracts – Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Spalding and Nutella -- among them. But Nike and collectibles company Upper Deck stood by him.
Nike didn't debut a Bryant shoe until March 2005 and didn't support it with advertising and actually waited until July 2005 – more than two years into the deal, once the civil case was settled and the criminal case was dropped – to debut the association in a Sports Illustrated print ad.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page