The late basketball star was signed to the German sportswear brand until 2002.
Before Kobe Bryant had a legendary sneaker run with Nike, the late hall of fame great stepped onto the court in Adidas. He was signed to Adidas from his rookie season until 2002, and he made the jump over onto the Beaverton, Oregon-brand in 2003. Before he left the German brand, a few signature sneakers were made in his name – and they'll be hitting shelves again sometime next year.
Sources closely tied to Adidas' slate of upcoming releases told Complex to expect two shoes to return in 2022 – the Kobe 1 and the EQT Elevation, both shoes that Bryant wore during pivotal moments of his early professional basketball career. But because Bryant hasn't been signed to Adidas for almost twenty years now, the company will not be using his name or likeness in promotion of the shoes. The brand has already done this a few times even while Kobe was still alive, and looks to be continuing it next year as well. These silhouettes will instead be renamed to the "Crazy 1" and the "Crazy 97 EQT," according to a brand document for Adidas' upcoming releases.
adidas "Crazy 1" in "Sunshine" - formerly Kobe 1 - image via Complex
The plan is for Adidas to release two colorways of the Crazy 97 in time for next year's All-Star Game in February. The inspiration behind that choice comes from Kobe wearing them in his 1997 appearance at the Cleveland All-Star Game in which he took home the win during the Slam Dunk Contest. The 2022 All-Star Game will be returning to Cleveland, so Adidas will be commemorating the moment with a colorway inspired by the 1997 All-Star Game's court colors, while another colorway will be in the classic style of the Lakers' purple and gold.
adidas "Crazy 97 EQT" in "Lakers" - image via Complex
For the Crazy 1, Bryant's first signature shoe that's bulky in design but iconic for its nods to the Audi TT luxury car, two colorways are in the works as well. The yellow "Sunshine" colorway is reportedly slated for an April 2022 release with its connection to the high school McDonald's All-American Game, while the other colorway will be a classic white and black "Stormtrooper" pair.
adidas "Crazy 1" in "Storm Toopers" - formerly Kobe 1 - image via Complex
Following the Laker great's death last year, his wife Vanessa has had a bumpy relationship with Nike as his contract came to an end with them earlier this year. His estate has yet to enter a new deal with either brand to keep his sneaker legacy alive.
Let us know what you think of these upcoming retro shoe releases, and check out a photo of a young Kobe from the iconic 1997 All-Star Weekend, wearing the adidas sneakers in question, below.