Last updated on February 16th, 2024
|Nike Kobe 6 Protro
|Kobe Reverse Grinch
|2023 Dec 15th
Nike Basketball will be ending an eventful 2023 with the highly anticipated launch of the "Kobe Reverse Grinch" on December 16th.
The Nike Kobe 6 Protro, officially known as the sequel to the beloved "Grinch" style, was first worn by Kobe Bryant on December 25th, 2010 during a Christmas-day game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. Although Bryant and his team lost to LeBron James and his teammates, the sneakers immediately captivated viewers and became widely regarded as the greatest Christmas-themed sneaker ever.
To commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of the original Kobe 6 "Grinch," the Kobe Bryant Estate, led by Vanessa Bryant, collaborated with Nike to rewrite the iconic story.
Stay tuned for a comprehensive overview of the upcoming "Kobe Grinch" release and make sure to keep an eye on the Nike SNKRS app as this unique basketball sneaker is expected to surprise drop before its official launch in mid-December.
The Green Mamba
In 2003, Kobe Bryant adopted the moniker "Black Mamba," drawing inspiration from Quentin Tarantino's 2003 film Kill Bill. This nickname served as a means for Bryant to distinguish his personal life from his on-court persona.
During an interview with Ahmad Rashad in 2015, Bryant, a five-time NBA Champion at the time, expressed that once he sets foot on the court, he fully embodies the fierce and relentless nature of a killer snake, displaying an unwavering and unemotional demeanor.
Bryant's alter-ego was the driving force behind Nike Basketball's "Holiday 2010" collection, as well as future Nike Kobe products. The collection drew inspiration from the green mamba, and Eric Avar's design for Bryant's signature sneaker line fully embraced the reptilian concept by incorporating a scale-textured upper. This design not only brought the alter-ego to life in sneaker form, but also provided performance benefits by ensuring the Kobe 6 was lightweight yet protected. The sneaker's debut during Christmas 2010 naturally linked it to Dr. Seuss' beloved Grinch character from 1957, giving it a fitting "Green Mamba" makeover. The addition of "Crimson" branding and laces completed the "Kobe Grinch" look, solidifying its place in the history of holiday footwear.
The Performance Retro
In February 2018, the inaugural Kobe Brand Performance Retro, known as the "Protro," was introduced. This release came after Kobe Bryant's retirement from professional basketball two years prior, during which he had collaborated with Nike on the development of the Kobe A.D. and other top-notch basketball shoes suitable for athletes at every level and budget. The Protro brought a rejuvenated design in the aftermath of his illustrious 20-year basketball career. While drawing inspiration from the Air Jordan line, Bryant was determined to ensure that his footwear collection progressed to cater to the contemporary demands of athletes, rather than simply reissuing past signature models.
The Nike Kobe 1 Protro initiated a new era of Kobe sneakers, featuring improved cushioning and premium materials. This paved the way for subsequent early-number Kobes, which gained recognition through players like DeMar DeRozan showcasing their performance at the NBA level. The anticipation around Bryant's retro line grew steadily. In early 2019, the Kobe 4 Protro was introduced, followed by the Kobe 5 Protro, which concluded the year with its iconic "Chaos" color scheme from Christmas 2009.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck shortly after the Kobe 5 Protro's release on January 3rd, 2020, as Kobe Bryant lost his life in a devastating helicopter accident.
Following the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, Nike, Inc. temporarily ceased the launch of any new Kobe-related merchandise. Nevertheless, the demand for Bryant's iconic Protro series skyrocketed, resulting in a surge of consumers purchasing sneakers from the secondary market and reselling them at exorbitant prices.
Before the start of January 2020, there were already rumors circulating about potential collaborations and unique color schemes for the new Kobe shoes throughout the year. However, the release of these products was delayed until August's "Mamba Week," which was a longer celebration of "Kobe Day" on August 24th (8/24). Kicking off this event was the Kobe 5 Protro "Big Stage," which paved the way for collaborations with Undefeated and the reissue of a few other models from the original line. In November, we finally got a glimpse of one of the most highly requested re-releases: the Kobe 6 Protro "Grinch." This special pair had become a modern classic since its initial release ten years ago and there were rumors as early as May 2020 that it would receive the Protro treatment.
On December 24th, 2020, the highly anticipated "Kobe Grinch Protro" made its triumphant return, showcasing its timeless "Green Apple" and "Volt" color scheme. This reissued version boasted an upgraded Air Zoom Turbo unit and reduced traction for an enhanced court experience. Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived as the sneakers quickly sold out, leaving devoted fans disheartened by the opportunistic individuals looking to profit from reselling. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when a restock was announced on the fifth anniversary of Bryant's final NBA game, granting some lucky customers the chance to finally own the coveted Christmas 2010 pair. Alas, before long, distressing news loomed on the horizon.
Time to go separate paths?
In April 2021, Nick DePaula, a prominent figure in the industry, took to social media to reveal that Nike, Inc. and the Kobe Bryant Estate had chosen not to extend their contract. Speculations had been circulating online, suggesting that before his untimely demise, Bryant had contemplated the notion of launching his own independent brand, distinct from the Swoosh. Vanessa Bryant's choice to not renew the contract only intensified these rumors, driven by her discontent with Nike's marketing approach and her refusal to accept a lifetime agreement for her beloved spouse.
Nike issued an official statement regarding the matter, expressing that Kobe Bryant played a significant role in strengthening their bond with consumers. He continuously motivated and elevated those in his presence. Although their contractual agreement has concluded, he will forever be cherished as a cherished member of the Nike family.
adidas and Reebok saw the separation as a chance to pursue their own throwback releases of Kobe Bryant-inspired shoes. However, the collaboration between Nike and the Kobe Bryant Estate was reignited after almost a year.
On Gigi Bryant's sixteenth birthday, the Kobe 6 Protro "Mambacita" was unveiled as the inaugural product of the revitalized collaboration. This exclusive footwear, paying tribute to the late Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, was made available for purchase on May 1st, 2022. All funds generated from the sale of the Protro were contributed to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Kobe Reverse Grinch
In May 2021, Anthony Davis gave a sneak peek of a modified Nike Kobe 6 "Grinch" shoe. This updated version of the popular basketball sneaker showcased a vibrant "Crimson" design. To add a twist, the branding hits and laces were given a refreshing "Green Apple" color, earning the nickname "Reverse Grinch" from online users. Initially, these sneakers were exclusively available to players. However, in mid-January 2023, reputable sneaker sources @zSneakerHeadz and Sneaker Files revealed that they would soon be released to the public during the Holiday 2023 season.
Nike, Inc. recently announced that their end-of-year Basketball collection will feature a reimagined version of a classic color scheme. This collection will also include a black Kobe 4 Protro. The sneakers will be available in both Men and Big Kid's sizes, with prices set at $180 USD and $125 USD respectively.
Where Can I Purchase "Kobe Grinches"?
The highly anticipated "Kobe Grinches" will soon hit the shelves of numerous stores. On December 16th, sneaker enthusiasts can find them on the Nike SNKRS app, while popular retailers like Foot Locker will also offer sizes for men and kids.