Nike on Monday suspended the sale of Kobe Bryant merchandise on its online store, multiple outlets reported.
According to ESPN, a search for Kobe Bryant on the site takes a user instead to a page with a purple and gold Nike gift card sporting the Los Angeles Lakers logo. A search of the site for “Kobe Bryant” and related terms later Monday night resulted in a page with the statement Nike issued Sunday upon learning of Bryant’s death:
“Along with millions of athletes and fans throughout the world, we are devastated by today’s tragic news. We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe and Gianna, especially their family and friends.
“As we are learning more details of the accident and the others who have tragically lost their lives, our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone involved and impacted.
“Kobe was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever.”
Bryant, 41, was one of nine people killed Sunday when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Calabasas, Calif. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also was among those who perished.
According to TheStreet, Nike had not yet replied to a request for comment Monday night. But citing sources within the company, ESPN reported the decision to suspend the sales was to prevent resellers from stockpiling on Bryant gear and then selling the merchandise at elevated prices.
The report added that Nike is re-evaluating how it will release Bryant’s signature shoe series going forward.
According to ESPN, more than 100 NBA players have worn Bryant shoes this season.
Thousands of people reportedly stopped by and gathered throughout the day Monday at a 35-foot poster of Bryant at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. At Nike’s regional office in Los Angeles, employees gathered in the office’s auditorium, named “Kobe.”
Also on Monday, the NBA announced that the game between the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
—Field Level Media