Last week we kicked off our [Sneaker Stories]( column by highlighting Nike’s “Mamba Week” releases, the curated selection of Kobe Bryant products that hit the market for the first time since his tragic death back in January. While each sneaker flew off the shelves, it’s fair to ask: was the series of releases by Nike actually a success?

From Nike’s perspective, it appears as though it was. All the sneakers and the limited edition jersey sold out within minutes on Nike’s SNKRS app. Nike kept quantities of each piece low, which in turn drove hype, and the bots ate–as they are known to do. Within minutes, the products were already being posted on secondary sites like Grailed at insane markups.

Of course, that’s just part of the game, as any sneakerhead knows by now. You win some, you lose some. However, for these particular releases, it’s hard not to wonder if Nike did itself and Kobe’s fans a disservice by not increasing the production for these sneakers. It was the subject of Michael Sykes’ “The Kicks You Wear” newsletter this week.

“This didn’t have to happen,” he wrote. “[Nike] could have flooded the market with Bryant’s gear and it all would’ve sold out anyway.” He’s right.

Remember, the Kobe line has been in limbo since his death and fans have been clamoring for something—anything—of his to cling to. This was their chance. Instead, his coveted sneakers went to those who just wanted to make a quick flip. While this is obviously a reality in today’s sneaker market, it just felt avoidable this time around. This wasn’t a hyped Virgil collaboration or the Chunky Dunkys, this week was meant to be a celebration of Kobe’s life and legacy. So actually let people join in the celebration.

While we’ve not pulled any Kobe Bryat-adjacent sneakers for this week’s roundup, it’s these current events that have us thinking about the hyped-sneaker marketplace. Many of these items were ripe for bots (or in-person sell-outs if they’re old enough) when they initially dropped. Who is to blame when sneakers sell-out in a way that makes us uncomfortable? The brands? The bots? The secondary market’s buyers and sellers? We don’t have the answer, but it’s certainly food for thought.

No other retailer has the same breadth and depth of selection as Grailed. From Medicom Dunks to pistachio-flavored Asics (and everything in between)–in no particular order, these are our picks for Grailed Sneaker Stories of the Week.

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