Kobe Bryant’s Nike Kobe 8 ‘What the Kobe’ Could Be Coming Back

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Ever since Nike and Vanessa Bryant, the wife of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, established a new partnership in March 2022, the brand has steadily increased its output of Kobe signature sneakers. It’s been a slow trickle — one that has recently increased thanks to pairs such as the “Girl Dad” Kobe 4 and “Mambacita” Kobe 8 — but it sounds like things will continue to ramp up in 2025.

Early information shared on X by insider @brandon1an suggests that one of the most coveted Nike Kobe sneakers of all time is slated to return next year. According to the account, the Nike Kobe 8 “What the Kobe,” originally released in December 2013, will return in Protro form during Summer 2025. Due to the advance leak, it’s not immediately clear if the pair will be a one-to-one reproduction of the 2013 version or if it will include new colors.

Nike’s “What the” theme was introduced in 2007 with the Nike SB Dunk Low “What the Dunk.” The first-of-its-kind concept mixed panels, colors, and elements from 31 of the most popular previous Nike SB Dunk releases to create an eye-catching mismatched colorway. Highly limited upon its 2007 release, the “What the Dunk” has become increasingly rare over the years and is currently resold for $24,000.

Following the success of the “What the Dunk,” Nike revisited the concept in 2012 with the “What the Kobe” Kobe 7 followed by the Kobe 8 in 2013. Other signature sneakers from this era of Nike Basketball including those belonging to LeBron James and Kevin Durant also received the multicolor treatment. Some pairs were better received than others, and Nike has since decreased the frequency of “What the” styles, but the Kobe 8 remains coveted years later.

Bryant’s Nike Protro series was introduced in February 2018 as a “performance retro” line which upgraded his past shoes with modern technologies. “Protro is about evolution and improving on things that were,” Bryant said in a 2018 press release. “I wanted to build a business that wasn’t just based on things I have done in the past. It is important that the brand stands for performance and that everything we do is innovative, even if we are releasing shoes from the past they still must be built on performance.”

On the current market, the 2013 Nike Kobe 8 “What the Kobe” is scarce, with only a handful of pairs available on sites such as StockX and GOAT. Average sale prices hover around $1,300.

Nike Kobe 8 “What the Kobe” (2013 version). Credit: Kicksonfire
Nike Kobe 8 “What the Kobe” (2013 version). Credit: Kicksonfire

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