Bidding is nearly over on a pair of sneakers worn by the late basketball player Kobe Bryant, believed to be the Los Angeles Lakers star’s first Nike (NKE) shoe. The current highest bid is 24,000 Swiss francs (£19,470, $26,072).
According to the Sotheby’s website, which listed the item, the shoe is expected to sell for between CHF 26,000 and CHF 35,000.
Bryant signed a deal with Nike in the summer of 2003. The Air Zoom Huarache 2K4 was a variation of the original Huarache shoe made in 1991 and was worn by Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 106-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Angeles Clippers in 2004. at Staples Center California
The new version “incorporated the style, comfort and performance” of the original, according to Sotheby’s listing, and “brought back classic basketball design principles in a very modern way.”
“Leaving an indelible mark on basketball and in the hearts and minds of fans, he [Bryant] brought a unique approach to the game with his passion and dedication that earned him five NBA championships, four NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Players [MVP] awards, two NBA Finals MVP awards and 2 Olympic gold medals,” the listing reads.
The sneakers come with a certificate from the MeiGray Group, which authenticates sports memorabilia.
Bryant died on January 26 last year in a helicopter crash that also killed the other eight people on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and his daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.
Bryant had his own line of sneakers with Nike which was incredibly popular. But last spring, Nike and Vanessa announced they were going their separate ways after the footwear giant’s deal with the late player ended.
There had been production delays before and now there are no more Kobes in production, which means the most popular sneaker among NBA players is also the hardest to get.
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Several players have told ESPN that they spent more than five figures buying supplies from Kobes on the secondary market.
Last month, The Guardian said “the old trainers have apparently become the new Picassos” after a pair of white and red leather high-top trainers made by Nike and worn by basketball star Michael Jordan sold for around $1.5m (£1.1m).