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:
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.