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Nike’s upcoming Kobe 8 Protro ‘Halo’ pays tribute to the basketball legend

Its triple-white colorway will honor Kobe Bryant’s birthday every year

Exactly 20 years after Kobe Bryant first signed with Nike, the global sportswear company and the Los Angeles Lakers star’s estate are ensuring his sneaker legacy with the swoosh continues.

On Thursday, the brand announced the upcoming release of the Nike Kobe 8 Protro “Halo,” an updated version of Bryant’s eighth signature Nike shoe, which originally dropped in 2012.

The triple white colorway pays homage to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Nike

The all-white colorway will be released on Aug. 23, which is the 45th birthday of the late star, who died in a plane crash on Jan. 26, 2020, with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Nike teased the anticipated return of another model from Kobe’s signature line on social media leading up to the official announcement. The shoe is widely regarded as one of the best performance shoes in basketball and sneaker cultures.

Vanessa Bryant, the Hall of Famer’s wife, confirmed the upcoming release on Instagram with an additional announcement.

“This will be one of many Kobe ‘Halo’ styles coming soon,” she wrote. According to Nike, “The plan is to continue an all-white Kobe model each season to honor and celebrate” Bryant’s birthday.

The Kobe 8 Protro “Halo” marks the second release of a Nike Kobe model since late March 2022, when Vanessa Bryant and the sportswear brand reached an agreement to continue the partnership.

The Nike Kobe line had been in limbo for nearly a year after the expiration of the five-year post-retirement extension on April 13, 2021, that Bryant signed in 2016. Nike and Vanessa Bryant negotiated for the next 11 months and agreed on a new long-term contract that extends the relationship that began in June 2003, when Bryant first signed with Nike.

From 2003 to 2016, Bryant and Nike worked together to build a line of 11 Nike Kobe signatures, besides complementary team shoe models. By 2018, Bryant’s signature line returned, when Nike introduced “Protro” — short for “performance retro” — versions of Bryant’s original signature models with updated technology.

Following the release of the Kobe 4 Protro “Mambacita” honoring of the late Gianna “GiGi” Bryant in May, Nike’s series of Kobe retros continues with the release of the Kobe 8 Protro “Halo.” The latest Kobe model also drops just in time for “Mamba Week,” which the brand launched in 2020 after Bryant’s death.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wore the “Sulfur” colorway of the Nike Kobe 8 against the New York Knicks on Dec. 13, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

In 2012, when the Nike Kobe 8 was first launched, it was the lightest sneaker in Bryant’s signature line at the time. The newly updated Protro version retains the original look and introduces new features to enhance the shoe’s design and performance. An embroidered swoosh appears on the upper, and a Mamba logo adorns the tongue. The switch to Nike React foam for the midsole cushioning, replacing the Lunarlon material used on the original, represents a major change intended to increase durability and enhance performance. How well the shoes perform on the court stands as a major reason Bryant’s shoes remain popular among current NBA players.

Aaron Dodson is a sports and culture writer at Andscape. He primarily writes on sneakers/apparel and hosts the platform’s Sneaker Box video series. During Michael Jordan’s two seasons playing for the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, the “Flint” Air Jordan 9s sparked his passion for kicks.