Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
Howard previously had a sneaker deal with Chinese company Peak, which expired last September. According to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, the eight-time All-Star “had six-figure sneaker deal offers” prior to the Slam Dunk Contest but opted instead for a pair of Bryant’s Nike signature shoes Saturday.
The Lakers center also donned a Superman shirt with the No. 24.
Howard laid out his initial plan on his second dunk, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Tania Ganguli:
Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Howard and Bryant played together in Los Angeles in 2012-13. Things never clicked between the two that season, but they had since put any differences behind them.
Following Bryant’s death, Howard said Kobe was going to lend a hand in the Dunk Contest.
“He was going to do something for me in the dunk contest, which is kind of heartbreaking,” he told reporters. “It’s been on my mind every day. Man, I can’t believe it. I’m still in shock. It hurts. It’s tough. I just never thought that somebody like that would be gone.”
Earlier on Saturday, Howard teased a forthcoming tribute to the 18-time All-Star.