Nike Revives Kobe Bryant Advertisements

The NBA superstar, whose endorsement deals suffered when he became embroiled in a very public rape case, has returned to the marketing business:

Kobe’s Picture Reappears in Nike Magazine Ads (ESPN)

Nike is using photos of Kobe Bryant for the first time since his arrest two years ago for an alleged assault on a female employee at a Colorado resort.

The ad appears in Sports Illustrated.

Prosecutors dismissed a rape charge against Bryant last September after the woman who accused him refused to go ahead with the case. Bryant publicly apologized to her without admitting any guilt.

A civil suit filed by the woman against Bryant was settled out of court. Its details were not released.

“Nike agrees with most NBA observers that Kobe ranks among the very best players in the NBA, and his training and preparation are key elements of his game,” said Nike spokesman Rodney Knox.

He said the ad in the Sports Illustrated was the first to use Bryant’s image since his arrest. Earlier this year Bryant’s name appeared in an ad.

It’s an expected turn of events. With the case almost a year behind us, a celebrity of Kobe’s caliber was bound to grace magazine pages again, especially as a representative of a sports-oriented company. What’s worth noting is the timing: the ad comes in the basketball offseason, with no fanfare. Obviously, Nike wants to get the public slowly reacquainted with its spokesperson before bombarding the airwaves with him.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Martin Campbell says:

    Kobe Bryant is da shiznit. YOu cant $&%( with him. What???

  2. kobe rules says:

    kobe’s the man. He’s the best player in the league.

  3. Tobey says:

    Kobe Bryant admitted to raping a woman!

    “I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year…I now understand she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.” – A statement issued through Kobe Bryant’s lawyer, September 2, 2004.

    When a woman does not consent to sex, it is rape! Nike is insane to take him back. He is not a role model or hero. Nike has lost all my business.

  4. Richard Sarabia says:

    Kobe is the best player in the NBA today! In this country your innocent into proven guilty. Sorry Kobe haters. He is innocent, never was proven guilty. Too many goldiggers out there today. Anyway, Kobe is the #1 endorser after Tiger Woods. Go Kobe and Nike!!!!!!