In His Time With Nike, Kobe Bryant Was an Endorser Like No Other

A superstar you loved, or loved to hate

Kobe Bryant, who died tragically on Sunday, had remarkable range as a commercial endorser. A superhero in Los Angeles and a supervillain everywhere else, he turned on the charm and the swagger in equal measure in many of his ads. Yet for all the dramatic spots he was asked to produce—the somber "Don't love me. Hate me" stuff—he could also be incredible playful with his image, as his retirement campaign showed. 

Bryant was an Adidas endorser early on, but later switched to Nike, which produced a slew of truly memorable spots for him. The three below offer a good look at what could do in the advertising arena—from the pure joy of "All Together Now," from his 2010 championship run; to the theatricality and humor of "The Black Mamba," by Robert Rodriguez; to the quirky farewell of "The Conductor," released in 2016 to honor his retirement. 

Kobe was a different kind of idol than Jordan or LeBron, and in some ways had a more textured advertising career than either. Nike will surely honor him in some form in the coming days, and it's bound to be another striking piece for a player who enjoyed so many of them. 

Nike | All Together Now
Nike | The Conductor

UPDATE: Late Sunday afternoon, Nike said it was "devastated" by the news of Bryant's death in the tribute post below, with the caption "Mamba Forever."

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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