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Nike Kobe basketball shoes

After being drafted in 1996, Kobe Bean Bryant went on to become one of the most sought-after and successful basketball players in the history of the NBA. He is easily up there with big names such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and The King LeBron James.

In 2002, Kobe dropped Adidas and became a free agent for more or less a year. As a free agent, he wore shoes from other brands like Jordan and Reebok. Nike succeeded in signing him up in 2003. It was a massive deal that launched the now popular Nike Kobe basketball shoes. This signature collection kept growing until 2016 when Kobe retired from basketball and the Nike Kobe line produced its last official model. 

Post-retirement Nike Kobe releases

Of course, that doesn't mean that Nike and Kobe Bryant would stop producing basketball shoes. A new post-retirement line was launched, and signature Nike Kobe models with "A.D." in their names were released. Every now and then, Nike also releases stand-alone models that bear the "Mamba" name, which of course is Bryant's well-known monicker. 

A few years later, the Protros start appearing. A Nike Kobe basketball shoe with "Protro" in its name is basically a remastered version of a classic. Besides copying the classic aesthetics, modern technologies are incorporated on it to ensure current on-court utility. 

In 2020, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. However, even his death didn't stop the popularity of his Nike basketball shoes; new models, usually Protros, are still released.