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Vanessa Bryant smiles dressed in pink.

Vanessa Bryant Surprises University Basketball Teams with New Kobe Sneakers

Basketball teams from the University of Southern California have received a special surprise from Vanessa Bryant – new sneakers!

The model, philanthropist and wife of late basketball star Kobe Bryant, sent pairs of Nikes to the men’s and women’s teams as the news season gets underway. And we’re not just talking any sneakers. These are the Kobe 6 performance retro “Reverse Grinch” shoes which haven’t even been released to the public yet.

And while Vanessa wasn’t there to distribute the gifts herself, as you can imagine, the players were still ecstatic to receive her support, and that of The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, which was originally set up by Kobe in 2016.


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In a video posted by the USC Hoops on X (formerly Twitter), the university shared the players’ rather hilarious reactions:

“Vanessa, what’s up?” star guard Kobe Johnson says to the camera pretending to use the sneakers as a phone. “This is Kobe Johnson from the USC Men’s Basketball team. I just wanted to say thank you a whole lot for the shoes that you gave us. We appreciate it a lot. We’re ready to go into the season with them and start killing, so once again, we appreciate you a whole lot. Can’t wait to see you.”



The video also shows USC captain Boogie Ellis sharing his thanks: “We truly appreciate you for your support. Fight on, and appreciate the shoes.”

The “Reverse Grinch” sneakers are bright red with neon green laces and a black Nike swoosh. The original shoe was released back in 2011 and this new one will be released on December 16.

This isn’t the first time Vanessa has shown her support for college teams either. Earlier this year, her foundation donated sneakers to the Tigers, the women’s basketball team at Louisiana State University. According to the organisation’s website, their main mission is to provide funding for sports programs in under-served areas.

(Feature Image Credit: DFree/ Shutterstock.com)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.