Kobe Bryant

How the Mamba Stole Christmas: Origins of Kobe's ‘Grinch' Sneakers

Kobe Bryant's signature green shoes debuted on Christmas Day in 2010

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The Black Mamba went green for Christmas and changed the sneaker game forever.

Kobe Bryant’s Nike partnership produced some of the most iconic signature shoes of all time, but nothing compares to the heat he brought to Staples Center on Dec. 25, 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers legend stepped onto the floor and introduced bright green shoes that are seen to this day.

The Lakers will be back on the Christmas stage this year when they face the Dallas Mavericks, and Bryant’s kicks are sure to be seen across the five-game NBA slate on Sunday. What exactly are the green shoes, and how are they attainable?

Here’s a look back at the quintessential Christmas kicks:

Nike Kobe 6 Grinch origin

Originally dubbed “Green Mamba,” both the name and design played off Bryant’s nickname, as the shoe featured two-toned green scales.

The red logo on the tongue gave the shoe a Christmas look. That holiday combo, along with the particular shade of green, led people to nickname the shoe after the Grinch.

When did Kobe Bryant first wear Grinch sneakers?

Bryant sported the Grinch kicks for the first time on a fitting occasion.

The defending NBA champion Lakers welcomed the newly formed Miami Heat Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to Staples Center for a Christmas Day showdown in 2010. Between the Lakers wearing their white uniforms, the Heat going with road red and the green sneakers worn by Bryant and other Lakers, the colors on the court matched the holiday spirit.

While the game is remembered for the shoes’ debut, it was an underwhelming afternoon for Bryant and the Lakers. He was held to 17 points as the Heat picked up a 96-80 win.

The Heat weren’t the only ones to leave Staples Center happy. Fans who had courtside seats for the game received a gift bag that included the now-iconic shoes.

How much did Kobe 6 Grinch sneakers cost?

The kicks were sold for an initial price of $130 and hit retail the same day as the game.

When did Nike relaunch Kobe 6 Grinch?

Nike relaunched the Kobe 6 Protro Grinch on Dec. 24, 2020, at $180.

The Grinch wasn’t the only Kobe 6 colorway to get a re-release. The Kobe 6 All-Star got a Protro re-launch in March 2021 at $190 and the Kobe 6 White Del Sol got a Protro re-launch in June 2021 at $180.

How much do Kobe 6 Grinch sneakers cost now?

The kicks have more than tripled in price since their 2020 release. On most resale sites, the shoes now fetch between $600-$800. 

Does Nike still sell Kobe sneakers?

Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, announced a new partnership with Nike in March 2022 after she previously called out the company for a tribute shoe for Kobe and their daughter, Gigi, that went online without her permission. As part of the deal, all proceeds for Gigi’s shoes will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

The most recent Kobe 6 Protro to come out was the Mambacita Sweet 16, which came out this past May in honor of Gigi’s birthday. The black and white colorway features Gigi’s No. 2, along with her name and Kobe’s.

Recent rumors suggest the next re-release will be the Kobe 8 Protro in the fall of 2023, but Nike has not made anything official.

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