The first schools to be sponsored by the Nike Kobe brand have been announced by Vanessa Bryant.

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Vanessa Bryant Announces Nike Kobe Brand Universities

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The legacy of Kobe Bryant, both as a basketball icon and an inspiring figure, continues to influence the sports world. The concept of a "Nike Kobe school" has gained attention, symbolizing an institution that could carry forward Kobe and Gigi Bryant's dedication to excellence and passion for the game. With the University of Kentucky being named the first school to join the Mamba Progam, we wonder what university will be next. Among the numerous contenders, schools like Duke, UCONN, Michigan State, USC, Arizona, Villanova, LSU, and Oregon stand out as potential torchbearers of this legacy. Each have received their own PE versions of Kobe sneakers in the past.

Following speculation, Vanessa Bryant has come forward and shared an image that showcases the upcoming schools that will be sponsored by the Nike Kobe brand. This includes UCONN, USC, Oregon, Duke, and LSU.

Below, we've showcased the connection each university has had to the Nike Kobe brand. It is also likely this is just the beginning and more collegiate athletic programs will be sponsored by the Nike Kobe brand.

Image via Vanessa Bryant

Duke University

Nike Kobe 11 Duke PE (image via Nike)
Nike Kobe 11 Duke PE (image via Nike)

Known for its storied basketball program and emphasis on excellence, Duke University shares a parallel commitment to what Kobe Bryant represented on and off the court. The school's tradition of nurturing talented athletes while emphasizing academic success aligns well with Bryant's dedication to honing skills and knowledge. Kobe even went on record to say that if he had gone to college, Duke was one of the contenders to receive his services, making the Blue Devil's one of the best choices to represent the Nike Kobe brand.


Nike Kobe 10 iD UCONN (image via Nike)
Nike Kobe 10 iD UCONN (image via Nike)

The University of Connecticut's basketball program has achieved unparalleled success, particularly its women's team. Kobe Bryant's resilience and emphasis on teamwork resonate with UCONN's commitment to unity, making it a great choice to carry forward his legacy. Not to mention UCONN was the school choice for Gigi Bryant.


Nike Kobe 6 USC
Nike Kobe 6 USC

Kobe Bryant's impact transcended borders, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. USC's culturally diverse student body aligns with this principle, making it one of the best schools to continue Bryant's message of unity through sports. As the university's basketball programs continue to elevate, and their location in Southern California being a hot spot for upcoming players like Bronny James and JuJu Watkins, USC becoming a Nike Kobe school sounds like a no brainer.


LSU with the Nike Kobe 6 Protro Grinch (image via LSU)
LSU with the Nike Kobe 6 Protro Grinch (image via LSU)

Kobe Bryant's legacy extends beyond his playing days; he became an inspiration to aspiring athletes. LSU's focus on developing student-athletes' potential and character aligns with Kobe's mentality. Their ever-growing prowess in the NCAA makes them one of the best schools and a perfect representation of the Nike Kobe brand.

University of Oregon

Nike Kobe 11 Oregon PE (image via Nike)
Nike Kobe 11 Oregon PE (image via Nike)

Just as Kobe Bryant adapted his game to changing circumstances, the University of Oregon's innovative approach to sports and academics aligns with his ability to evolve. This makes the school a great torchbearer for his legacy. While this pairing seems a little left field, the home of Nike is now officially a Nike Kobe school.

Each of these schools—Duke, UCONN, USC, LSU, and Oregon—embodies aspects of Kobe and Gigi Bryant's spirit, values, and legacy. Whether it's Duke's pursuit of excellence, UCONN's unity, or USC's diversity, these institutions are great choices for the Nike Kobe brand to align with. As they continue to shape the future of sports and education, their commitment to The Bryant's legacy can inspire a new generation to reach for the stars, both on and off the court.

All of this news comes on the heels of the official relaunch of the Nike Kobe line, which will see the introduction of the Nike Kobe 8 “Halo” and the “Halo Series” as a whole. Keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest Nike Kobe news and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.

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