Nike Launching Zion Williamson Signature Shoe, Loses Kobe Bryant Shoe Rights

A new signature line of shoes from Jordan Brand and Zion Williamson was unveiled Tuesday. Here's what you need to know about the shoes from the New Orleans Pelicans star and former Duke University standout.

What Happened: The new signature Jordan Zion 1 was unveiled by Nike Inc NKE.

"The Zion 1 kicks off his signature line with a design inspired by his duality of humility meets superhuman ability," the company said.

The shoes feature full-length Air Strobel cushioning, are light, stable and strong. The shoes will come in four different color variations to start. The Jordan Zion 1 Black/White/Metallic Gold shoe will go on sale beginning April 23 with a retail price of $120.

The “ZNA” version will be available for sale for $120 beginning May 5 and feature colors like Blue Void, Fierce Purple, Indigo Haze and Bright Crimson.

The “Marion” version will be available for sale for $120 beginning May 26 and features colors like Hyper Pink, Dark Beetroot and Metallic Silver.

The “NOAH” version will be available for sale for $120 beginning May 19 and features colors like Bright Crimson, Amarillo, Black and White. The shoe features a rainbow feel on the bottom of the shoe.

Related Link: The Next Jordan Brand? Under Armour Doubles Down On Steph Curry

Why It’s Important: Williamson is one of the most well-known players in the National Basketball Association. He is the fourth active NBA player under the Jordan Brand with a signature shoe and also the youngest. Williamson joins Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook in the category.

Williamson is expected to debut the Jordan Zion 1 signature shoe tonight.

Nike signed Williamson back in 2019 to one of the largest shoe deals in history. The deal was worth a reported $75 million over seven years, trailing only the deal signed by LeBron James for $90 million also by Nike, according to Axios.

The launch of Williamson’s signature shoe comes on the heels of news coming out that Vanessa Bryant and the Kobe Bryant estate chose not to renew their deal with Nike that expired in mid-April.

“Kobe’s Nike contract expired on 4/13/21,” Vanessa Bryant told ESPN.

Speculation is that the Bryant estate was frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of products during his retirement and after his death in 2020. A lack of availability of Kobe shoes in kids’ sizes was also cited as a factor in the decision.

“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” Bryant said noting that the products sell out in seconds.

The Bryant estate could choose to sign a deal with a rival company like Under Armour Inc UA. Bryant told ESPN the Kobe Bryant estate owns the rights to the “Mamba” logo.

NKE Price Action: Shares of Nike closed down 4.1% to $127.11 on Tuesday.

Posted In: Jordan brandKobe BryantNational Basketball AssociationNBAshoe stocksZion WilliamsonNewsSportsGeneral