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The Way of the Black Mamba

Good Morning Everybody! Welcome to our very special segment of our Black Sheep of the Year! To celebrate this special occasion we have taken the time to bring you The Way of the Black Mamba .

Kobe Bryant left a defining legacy that was nothing short of legendary. His relentless efforts on and off the court propelled him into one of the greatest basketball players of all time. After 20 years of playing with one team, Kobe led the Los Angeles Lakers to seven NBA finals appearances, five NBA Championships, two Finals MVP trophies, 18 NBA All-Star appearances, 4 NBA All Star MVPs, and League MVP in 2008. 

The Way of the Black Mamba

His NBA resume rivals some of the greatest to ever lace em up, but there is much more to the Kobe legacy that continues on and off basketball courts all around the world.

Sadly, on January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others boarded a helicopter that Kobe had taken for his entire career. Tragically, the helicopter crashed in Calabasas California due to detrimental weather conditions killing everyone onboard. 

Early in his career, he realized how much time he could save by taking his four-passenger Sikorsky S-76 from his home to the Staples center which was approximately fifty miles away. Anyone familiar with LA traffic understood this distance can equate to hours stuck in traffic. 

This allowed him to generate more practice and playing time, it was always about strategy and having an edge. The helicopter became part of Kobe’s legacy, even naming the helicopter “Mamba Chopper.” More importantly, it provided more time for him to spend with his family. 

At the ripe age of forty-two, Kobe had so much more to accomplish post basketball. His passion for story telling had only begun too materialize and his daughter Gianna was on her way of fulfilling her own legacy. 

The Way of the Black Mamba: Mambacita

The Way of the Black Mamba

Gianna Bryant, who was only thirteen years old had aspirations of one day leading the WNBA to glory. She also wanted to go to College, specifically become a UConn Husky and even visited the college and attended games with her father. 

Gianna seemed to pick up where Kobe left off on the court, hitting tough fade away shots on defender’s grills, and showcasing footwork and dribbling skills that were advanced for her age. Her work ethic of course was inspired by her father, and her rapid development not only made her father and family proud, but has helped inspire young women all around the world.

This tragic event sent shockwaves throughout the basketball community, leaving generations of fans around the world grieving. 

I was in California that weekend attending an event with E and Roc. That Sunday morning as we prepped for the drive back home we witnessed a thick fog and even discussed the danger of low visibility since we were on our way back to Arizona. During our commute, I receive a text: “Kobe just died”.

I just couldn’t believe it. It was a strange ride home, knowing that one of my personal idols is now gone, and learning who the others were on board made it that much worse. 

I want to dedicate the way of the black mamba about his life, his perseverance when facing adversity, and concentrate on the qualities that made him an ultimate Black Sheep. His dedication and focus to the game of basketball has set the precedence for current and future generations not only here in the United States, but across the globe.

This article is dedicated to Kobe Bryant and the Bryant family, Kobe’s legacy is forever…

Early Years 

Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1978. His father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played in the NBA from 1975 to 1983. It was during this time where a young Kobe Bryant would be introduced to the game and the aura that is the NBA.

 Kobe naturally gravitated towards basketball. At the age of three, Kobe dressed up as a basketball player in his living room and emulated his dads moved on a kiddie court until his dad finished the game on television.

The NBA was in his DNA at a very young age, and he would end up taking his talents overseas as a young kid and spend eight seasons in Europe. 

European Roots

At the age of six, Kobe took his young talents to Europe.  In 1984, Joe Bryant played in the Italian League for eight seasons forcing Kobe to adapt to an entire new country. He was the new kid, but like all young Black Sheep, he adapted quickly and even learned to speak fluent Italian.

Here, an adolescent Kobe played different sports such as soccer, that added another element to his game. As a matter of fact, Kobe fell in love with soccer playing as a goal keeper because of his length before moving to midfield. He played soccer from the age of six to fourteen although admitting he was nothing special, soccer will always have a special place in Kobe’s heart. 

“Upon receiving the ball you already have to have a good idea of what you’re reading in front of you and what the next move is. And also the structure; they taught me at an early age how to play in triangles and how to utilize space, which wound up helping me tremendously in basketball as well. I loved the idea of how quickly the ball moves and how quickly you have to process what’s moving right in front of you to make decisions.” – Kobe Bryant 

Kobe took what he learned from the game of soccer and applied it to his NBA career. Many great players today have a similar background, such as Steve Nash who is one of the greatest point guards of all time. 

Every summer, Kobe and his family returned to Philadelphia and Kobe participated in summer leagues. However, competition in the United States was and still is on another level then their Italian counter part. Kobe went on to score zero points one summer but his father would comfort him, telling him not to worry about scoring because he would still love him no matter the outcome. 

At the age of fourteen, he finally returned to the states for good after his father’s retirement. He worked on his game tirelessly and added a new element every year.

Lower Merion High School 

The Way of the Black Mamba

Returning to the United States, Kobe again felt like an outsider. Yes he spoke English, but the English he came home to was not something he was accustomed too. One example is a kid telling him “don’t sweat it.” He took it literally. 

Regardless, he felt basketball was a universal language and dedicated his time to the game. 

Kobe Bryant began to notice all the hard work beginning to pay dividends. By his senior year, he averaged over thirty points per game and led the school to its first state title in 1996. Kobe attracted scouts from major universities. 

Although he considered attending college such as Duke University, Kevin Garnett help sway Kobe’s decision in 1995 when he was drafted to the Timberwolves straight out of high school. Kobe decided to take the same route and made himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Number 8

“When I first came in at 8, is really trying to ‘plant your flag’ sort of thing. I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I’ve got to prove that I’m one of the best in this league. You’re going after them. It’s nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff.” – Kobe Bryant 

Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. He was the 13 pick of the draft. 

Kobe took the trade personal, and used the trade to fuel his ego and set his sights to prove his worth. 

Initially, his first year was difficult. Rather than showcasing his talents, he was just another rookie on the end of the bench. On many occasions, Kobe questioned his entry to the NBA and regretted not going to college simply because of the lack of playing time. 

Regardless, Kobe found a way into the spotlight.

During the All Star break, Kobe scored thirty-one points in the Rookie Challenge and also competed in the dunk contest.

Kobe entered the dunk contest and won by dazzling the crowd with an in between the legs finish. He also made the NBA All-Rookie second team averaging 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. 

Even during his rookie season many began to notice Kobe was different. Allen Iverson tells a fascinating story of an 18 year old Kobe Bryant when he came to town to play the Lakers. Kobe picked Iverson up at his hotel for some food. He asked Iverson what his plans were afterwards. Iverson responded: “I was going to the club. I mean, we in L.A.!” Kobe responded: “I’m going back to the gym.”

Kobe didn’t score a point the ensuing game and  faced more adversity in the playoffs. But his commitment to the game of basketball at such a young age payed dividends by the time it was all said and done. 

In the playoffs, Kobe finally had the opportunity to showcase his talents on the ultimate stage against the Utah Jazz. Shaquille O’Neal fouled out of the game, Robert Horry was ejected, it made the perfect debut for a young Kobe to send a message to the league. 

Instead, Kobe threw up four airballs in a pivotal game five. This moment would be known as the “airball game.” 

The Way of the Black Mamba

Just like all Black Sheep, failure is a critical component that can either make or break you. For Kobe, this was pure motivation.

Kobe analyzed his shots, all of them were on line, but short. That summer, he dedicated his time to strengthening his body. He felt if he could strengthen his legs, the shots would not fall short in the future. 

By his second year, he became the youngest All Star in NBA history and gained traction as the next Michael Jordan. He averaged 15 points per game and by his third year he became a starter falling short to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Phil Jackson

The arrival of Phil Jackson who coached a Bulls Team led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen winning two three-peats in the 1990s brought structure and leadership to a young Core of future superstars. 

In the introduction of the book “Mamba Mentality,” Phil shares one of his concerns he had about the Mamba. Jerry West contacted Phil about a conversation between him and Kobe. Kobe inquired how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both scored thirty points on the same team. 

“After Jerry probed a bit, Kobe admitted he was worried he wasn’t going to score enough points to become “one of the greatest players in the NBA.” This concerned me, because as a coach I didn’t care how many points a player scored—only the final numbers on the scoreboard.” – Phil Jackson 

Phil initially thought Kobe was un-coachable. As time passed that perception changed, he realized Kobe thrived off of questioning everything and was a true student of the game. Kobe had his own unique way of gathering intelligence and Phil would eventually realize that. 

Phil Jackson coached Kobe and Shaq from 1999-2004, and returned for a second stint with Kobe Bryant from 2005-2011. 

He played an intricate part to Kobe’s development. The zen master introduced him to the triangle offense, made famous by the great Michael Jordan. He also taught Kobe the power of meditation, flow, and energy. 

Kobe and Shaq

The dynamic duo of Kobe and Shaq would eventually win there first championship in the 1999-2000 season.

The iconic alley oop pass to Shaq after being down fifteen in the fourth quarter in a Game seven against the Portland Trailblazers pushed them to the NBA finals for the first time defeating the Indiana Pacers.

It was the beginning of greatness for Kobe, but the The Way of the Black Mamba did not set sail smoothly from the offset. Kobe developed tensions with Shaquille O’Neal, questioning his work ethic and commitment to the game of basketball. 

Shaq felt Kobe was selfish, on many occasions Kobe wouldn’t pass the ball. This dynamic of a duel accompanied by tension did not bold well for the two, but they enjoyed major success. 

2000-2001 Season

The following season the Lakers steam rolled into the NBA Finals defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and the San Antonio Spurs. 

Allen Iverson put up a historic performance in game one, but the mighty Lakers raised the Larry O’Brien trophy after 5 games. 

2001-2002 Season

Kobe put up efficient numbers in the 2001-2002 season averaging 26.8 points on 51.4% shooting, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assist. The Lakers advanced to the NBA finals sweeping the New Jersey Nets.

Kobe became the youngest player to ever three peat, a feat completed twice by the Chicago Bulls. Shaq received his third finals MVP, something Kobe would be reminded about when the relationship began to go south.

The Beginning of an end: Kobe and Shaq

2002–03 NBA Season

The lakers had completed what only few team could, a three-peat. Kobe and Shaq lived in the finals, but the 2002-03 season proved to be a challenge from the get. 

The Lakers began the season with an 11-19 record mainly due to a Shaq toe injury. In February of 2003, Kobe scored multiple forty point games and by the end of the season, the Lakers finished with a 50-32 record. 

After beating the Timberwolves in the first round, the Lakers fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games ending the Laker’s quest for a fourth straight championship. 

The Villain: Times of Turmoil

Dark clouds gathered over Kobe’s name in  2003. The NBA superstar was charged with sexual assault of a 19-year-old female worker in Colorado. Bryant said that he was innocent of the rape charge but guilty of adultery. 

The charge not only put a strain on Bryant’s professional life, it nearly ended his relationship with his wife. Kobe was able to put this behind him and move forward, but his image took several years to repair.

2003-2004 Season

Two weeks after Kobe was charged with sexual assault, Gary Payton and Karl Malone joined the team. it was suppose to be a a year of redemption for the Lakers adding two future hall of famers although they were peaking in age. However, the dark cloud hovered over the entire team for most of the season.

The media, the newspaper, the fans, much of that negative energy was focused on Kobe Bryant.

Kobe and Shaq also began to make public remarks about each other, increasing tensions. Kobe made it clear he would test free agency, and Phil Jackson had no guarantees of returning the following season. 

Prior to the start of the season, Kobe called Shaq fat and lazy and a weak leader. Shaq of course retaliated, coming close to a physical altercation which led to both being sent home. 

Luke Walton shared his thoughts on Kobe and Shaq at the time and the difference in leadership (or lack of) styles: 

“Early in my career, Kobe was still the incredible hard worker and natural leader on the floor, but there wasn’t much as far as leadership in bringing guys with you. It was kind of like: “Look, I’m here first, I’m working harder than anyone, I’m obviously more talented than everybody and I’m going to give everything I have in every game I play.” So, naturally he’s a leader, you respect that. Where, with Shaq, you come in and he’s practical jokes every single day, he’s telling you he’s got your back and, if somebody is fouling you, he’d tell you to “run them in to me next time.” He’d lay them out for you—little things like that would make you love Shaq.” – Luke Walton 

While Kobe played brilliantly and helped the Lakers reach the finals, The Way of the Black Mamba was still in development in terms of bringing the team together.

For the first half of the season he was often flying between his day job and Colorado for his court litigations. There was even an instance were Kobe had a huge game but needed fluids during half-time as a result of flying back and forth. 

For Kobe, the basketball court was a place of refuge during his turbulent season.

His ability to deal with real life and basketball stress was unheard of. Luke Walton described a game where Kareem Rush would be in the starting lineup, and Kobe showed up last minute with no warm up or preparation and put up 42 points. 

In the final game of the season Kobe did the spectacular. Against the Portland Trailblazers, Kobe forced two buzzer beaters and made both. One to tie the game, another in OT to win it. The degree of difficulty and the ability to make these circus shot clinched a division title sending the Lakers fired up into the playoffs. 

The Way of the Black Mamba

The Lakers earned their way back to the NBA Finals after defeating the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, Karl Malone would miss pivotal games, played injured for much of the series and the Lakers had to face the defensive juggernaut that was the Detroit Pistons. 

“We weren’t a team. We were a collection of very accomplished and high-achieving individuals. Even though we had a really good core and nucleus of guys who had been there for a few years already, we weren’t a team.” -Derrick Fisher

During the regular season the Pistons held opposing teams to under 70 points 11 times and also held 5 teams to under 70 points 5 games straight. 

After stealing game one of the NBA finals the Pistons set the tone for the series. A dramatic three pointer to tie the game by Kobe brought excitement to Los Angeles, but it was short lived. The Pistons annihilated and embarassed the Lakers holding up the trophy after only 5 games.

It was an end of an era, it was the end of Kobe and Shaq.

The ensuing summer Shaq joined the Miami Heat, Phil Jackson left the Lakers, and The Way of the Black Mamba remained purple and gold. 

Settlements and Disappointments

Kobe’s legal nightmare came to an end in 2005, as he settled with his accuser. However, he still had more disappointments to endure.

During the 2004-2005 season, he was the most hated man in the NBA because many felt he was responsible for driving Shaquille O’Neal off of the team. Although he played well that year, the Lakers failed to reach the playoffs and the pundits were quick to shift the blame towards number 8. 

Finally, in a highly anticipated match up, Kobe and Shaq came face to face on Christmas day. They avoided each other until tip off, a lazy “dap” between the two would suffice as Kobe would describe it. Bryant scored 42 points but missed the game winner. Shaq put up 24 points and 11 rebounds and left the Staples center with a smile satisfied of the win. 

That season Shaq and the Miami Heat made the playoffs but fell to the mighty Detroit Pistons who faced the Spurs in the finals. The Lakers wouldn’t even make the playoffs. 

2005-2006 (Greatest Single season)

The Way of the Black Mamba

The Way of the Black Mamba began to take shape has he started to reverse his image with his stellar individual performances . It became his final season sporting #8. Kobe averaged a whopping 35.4 points per game winning the scoring title and leading an underperforming cast to the playoffs as the seventh seed. 

# 8 represented belonging, and individualism and on January 22, 2006, he summoned every ounce of individualism. 

In the 2005-06 season, teams failed to score 81 points 206 times. The mamba made history against the Toronto Raptors by putting up an astonishing 81 point performance and willed his team to a win. It was the second most points scored since Wilt Chamberlain put up 100 points. 

Kobe faced the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs led by the great Steve Nash. The Suns were the second seed that season and were expected to make easy work of the Lakers. Kobe had a different idea.

After suprisingly taking a 2-1 lead against the Suns, Kobe shocked the Suns by hitting an amazing game winning buzzer beater in overtime to take a commanding 3-1 lead. 

The Suns finally brought it together and won the next three games and sent Kobe and the Lakers home in a thrilling seven game series. 

To add more insult to injury, Shaq and Dwayne Wade earned a trip to the finals that year winning in six games against the Dallas Mavericks rewarding Shaq with Championship #4. 

The Way of the Black MambaNumber 24 – Embracing the Villain – The Hero

“No hero is perfect, and no villain is completely void of heroic intentions. We all live as both. What sets the great ones apart is how they use their inner villain to create something epic. It’s living as a HeroVillain. The HeroVillain channels fear, rejection, anger and doubt and turns them into strength, courage, power and determination.’” – Kobe Bryant 

Kobe began to learn how to bring a team together. In the past, Kobe was the most talented, and he worked harder then all his teammates. That was his leading style. As number 24, Kobe understood he needed to tailor his leadership style differently to each member of the team, something Shaq managed back when they were on the same team. This is where the The Way of the Black Mamba began to fruition.

Kobe felt number 24 was about evolution and growth, maturity and family. 

“… Then 24 is a growth from that. Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.” – Kobe Bryant

MVP Season 

2007-08 season

Kobe Bryant finally returned to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. It was his first appearance since 2004 with Shaq. Unfortunately for Kobe, the Boston Celtics had other plans. After falling short in the Finals, Shaq quickly reminded Kobe:

“Last week Kobe couldn’t do without me.” -Shaq

Although Kobe earned the Most Valuable Player award, the Celtics went on to win the championship in six games. Kobe knew what he had to do to get over the hump.

Back to Back

Kobe returned the following season rejuvenated and determined to get back to the top. Leading a cast of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest, Kobe finally reached the pinnacle of his career by leading his team to two more Finals appearances. 

Kobe dominated the finals against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals averaging 32.4 points per game but also dishing out 7.4 assist, it was his most complete performance in any of his finals. After 5 games, Kobe Bryant held up championship #4, tying Shaq and winning Finals MVP for the first time. 

In an anticipated rematch, Kobe faced his nemesis from two seasons ago, the Boston Celtics.

The series went to a pivotal game 7 in Los Angeles. Although he went 6 of 24 from the field, big performances and Kobe’s willingness to pass the ball to Ron Artest in a clinching moment in the 4th quartered sealed his fate, earning championship #5 and Finals MVP for the second straight year. This championship proved to be the most difficult and most rewarding of Kobe’s career, it was the last time The Way of the Black Mamba would perform on the biggest stage.

During the press conference, Kobe amusingly reminded the world:

“One more then Shaq” he said with a smirk, “You can take that to the bank.”

Injury & Final Years 

Kobe was no stranger to pain. He played through pain much of his career, torn ligaments in his finger, practicing left handed when he broke his right hand, forcing up shots with a bum shoulder. The great Kobe persevered through injuries and always found a way. 

Kobe faced his biggest challenge yet.

The 2012-13 season proved to be a difficult one. Kobe and the Lakers were at the very bottom of the playoff picture and Kobe played heavy minutes game after game to keep them in contention. 

Against the Golden State Warriors led by a young Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Kobe went for a drive and fell grabbing his knee. He hyperextended his left knee grimacing in pain. He got up and continued to play.

In the 4th quarter with less then 3 minutes in the game, Kobe attempted to push off his left foot. He felt a pop and thought someone had kicked him from behind. 

Collapsing to the ground and grimacing his ankle, it was apparent something serious had occurred. Regardless, Kobe came back and knocked down two game clinching free throws, the Lakers also made the playoffs that season. 

“I was really tired, man. Just tired in the locker room, upset and dejected and thinking about this… mountain, man, to overcome. I mean this is a long process. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But then your kids walked in and you’re like, I gotta to set an example. ‘Daddy’s going to be fine. I’m going to do it.’ I’m going to work hard and go from there.” – Kobe Bryant 

The Way of the Black Mamba: Recovery and Return

An achilles injury usually ends careers in sports. It is a devastating injury especially when it happens in the latter years of an athlete’s career. Kobe was 34 years old when it happened and again found a way to exceed expectations. 

Achilles injuries usually take one year to make a full recovery. Kobe was able to return to the court within eight months. 

Kobe was awarded his final contract extension worth $48.5 million for two years. It positioned Kobe to become the longest tenured player with one team in NBA history surpassing John Stockton. 

Mamba Out 

In 2016, Kobe announced he planned to retire at the end of the season. The announcement turned the Laker’s season into a goodbye tour where he was celebrated in every stadium he stepped into greeted with dedication videos and cheers by fans who once provided a hostile welcome in the past such as Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, and San Antonio. The way of the black mamba finally had reached the level of hall of fame status no matter what arena he entered, he was truly appreciated his final season.

Final Goodbye from basketball

Shaq challenged Kobe a day before his last game to put up 50, a final glimpse into The Way of the Black Mamba and his basketball prowess. Kobe responded the following day against the Utah Jazz. in an emotional conclusion to such a historic career, Kobe reverted to his old ways. 

After trailing going into the 4th quarter against the Utah Jazz, Kobe willed one last final performance. He finished the game with 60 points in an emotional end to his illustrious career. He ended the last 3 minutes of the game scoring 13 straight points. After a heartfelt message to his fans, he concluded with two words “Mamba Out.”

The Way of the Black Mamba: Mamba Mentality

Similar to Bruce Lee’s vision of Jeet Kune Do, Kobe approached the game of basketball differently than the typical NBA player. His relentless drive and prowess off the court is what separated him from many of his peers. When Kobe first entered the league, he was astonished how little many NBA players would push themselves. He felt his peers did not work as hard as they needed too. 

The mamba mentality as Kobe puts it:

“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”

Kobe felt the Mamba Mentality was more than a way to approach training, it was a way of life. 

The Way of the Black MambaTraining

Kobe’s approach too training, and every aspect of training was designed to bring about the very best version of himself on the basketball court. He incorporated weight training, track work, and basketball fundamentals for his daily regimen. 

Weightlifting

Kobe lifted 90 minutes a day four days a week. It gave him a physical edge especially in the playoffs. Inspired by his failures against the Jazz earlier in his career, Kobe strengthen his body and kept this regiment until the end of his career. He even utilized Tim Grover, the same trainer who helped Michael Jordan gain the strength needed to push past the Detroit Pistons. 

666 program

Kobe realized in order to separate himself from good to great, he needed to bring together his relentless effort in combination with the optimization of his time. The 666 program is a direct representation of The Way of the Black Mamba and his willingness to sacrifice to become the very best version of himself physically and mentally.

As a result of focusing on what needed to be done, he prioritized his training by creating a program known as the “666” program. 

It is called the 666 program, because Kobe would work out 6 days a week, 6 hours a day, for 6 months. 

As a result of his training, season after season, with each passing completion of his program, he quickly separated himself from his peers, solidifying him as the hardest worker to ever lace em up. 

The Way of the Black Mamba: The Story Teller

Kobe found passion outside of basketball. His love for story telling sparked an idea, so he created Granity Studio to make his vision a reality. 

Kobe formed “Granity Studios” to tell stories around sports and to inspire young adults. His newly found passion for story telling earned an Oscar for his short animated film known as “Dear Basketball.” 

 Detail

In 2018, Kobe created “Detail” with a purpose to analyze basketball straight from the legend himself. It was a outlet to showcase The Way of the Black Mamba.

Detail was a major success, many of the players involved love the idea of Kobe analyzing their game. Jason Tatum was lucky enough to be featured in Detail, where Kobe broke his game down. 

“That was really cool for me. Growing up, [Bryant] was my favorite player. That was really a special moment for me,  “I’ve probably watched [Detail] like 25 times already. It’s very helpful information that I can take with me.”- Jason Tatum

Today, the show Detail is still going strong with many great players analyzing more then basketball, but every sport such as football, where even the great Joe Montana has made an appearance.

Although Kobe’s life was cut short, his vision of story telling to inspire the youth will surely live on through the generations he has inspired. 

Mamba Foundation

In 2018 Kobe founded the Mamba Sports Foundation designed to inspire youth through sports. 

Recently, Vanessa Bryant renamed the organization the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation to also honor her daughter Gianna. 

The mission of the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation is “dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports. Founded through the vision and loving memory of Kobe and Gianna ”Gigi” Bryant” click here for more information.

Influence on Women’s Sports

Kobe fathered four daughters and ensured he did everything he could for them to enter a world where women’s sports was well respected and appreciated. 

He spent much time with his daughter at NBA games, WNBA games, women’s college basketball, and supported all Women’s sports proudly.

More importantly, he coached Gianna and her AAU team and was heavily involved in improving that team even teaching them what helped him win five NBA titles, the triangle offense. 

The Way of the Black Mamba has inspired a generation of female athletes across many sports, the Mamba Mentality lives on through these women such as Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Tourasi and Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon.

The Way of the Black Mamba: Mamba Forever

The legacy of Kobe Bryant will live on through the generations he inspired. The Mamba & Mambacita Foundation was his vision for the youth, to help them face challenges and solve problems to promote growth through sports.

Kobe’s willingness to stay disciplined and sacrifice his body and time to become the very best he could be, is being emulated right now by not just athletes across all sports but in many professions.

His passion for story telling had only begun, but he left behind a framework and vision proving that adaptability is a key ingredient for success given his success after retirement.

He had a knack to become great, and even won an Oscar after leaving the realm of basketball and more importantly, he learned from his mistakes and became a better man and father to his wife and kids.

The Way of the Black Mamba represented an Ultimate Black Sheep, constantly pushing his physical and mental limits beyond his peers. He made many mistakes, even almost costing his family, but made things right to prove that people can become better in any aspect of life.

In his final tweet of his life, the Mamba recognized greatness. 

Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant wrote. “Much respect my brother.”

Kobe’s final tweet resonated everything he stood for. Too be the very best version of yourself no matter the circumstances. The Way of the Black Mamba represents a fearless approach to his endeavors and relentless pursuit of excellence has set the tone of millions of athletes around the world emulating his attitude and creating a new culture of excellence for future generations.

“When I was young, my mindset was image, image, image. I don’t took that approach with the media. As I became more experienced I realized: No matter what, people are going to like you or not like you. So be authentic, and let them like you or not for who you actually are” – Kobe Bryant

The Way of the Black Mamba

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