The Mamba Sports Academy will no longer use Kobe Bryant’s iconic nickname following a mutual agreement with the Laker legend’s estate.
An agreement now takes the “Mamba” out of the Sports Academy.
The late Kobe Bryant, known as the “Black Mamba,” will no longer have his nickname synonymous with the Sports Academy. The five-time NBA champion and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee frequently visited the training complex in 2018 when coaching his daughter, the late Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and her youth basketball team. He would later become a co-owner and play a vital role in increasing the popularity and strengthening the focus of the academy.
Kobe, Gigi and seven others were on their way to a tournament at the academy on Jan. 26 when their helicopter ride turned into a fatal crash.
“The changing of the name from Mamba Sports Academy to Sports Academy, the original name from 2016, is not a decision we came to lightly or on our own,” the Sports Academy said in a statement. “It was a mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of his estate. Thank you for respecting that decision in these turbulent times.”
Based in Thousand Oaks, California the training complex serves over 50,000 athletes anywhere from youth to professional athletes. There are three components, which include a sports training academy, sports-focused venture lab and a charity component. The charity component briefly added Gigi’s nickname to honor her and Kobe’s legacy during their memorial where Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, directed people to donate to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
In addition to Kobe Bryant coaching his daughter’s youth team, he organized training sessions and pickup games at the complex. The Los Angeles Lakers legend also trained Kawhi Leonard at the academy the offseason before Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title in franchise history. Leonard was also named the NBA Finals MVP. With Mamba retired from the Sports Academy’s name, Kobe’s impact won’t be forgotten.
Originally founded in 2016 by Chad Faulkner with the mission of “elevating human performance,” the academy says the mission was enhanced when Kobe, Inc. joined as a partner.
“What MSA (Mamba Sports Academy) accomplished in the subsequent 14 months was extraordinary, but only scratching the surface of what was possible,” the Sports Academy said in statement. “Today, with respect for an unparalleled legacy, the Academy will retire the ‘Mamba’ in the Mamba Sports Academy name — to raise it to the rafters, where it belongs. In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership.”