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Sports Academy retires ‘Mamba’ from its name as a way to respect Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant passed away in January

Fans carry posters of Kobe Bryant near the Staples Center before a public memorial for former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in Los Angeles, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Fans carry posters of Kobe Bryant near the Staples Center before a public memorial for former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in Los Angeles, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press

The Mamba Sports Academy has decided to lift the term “Mamba” from its name out of respect to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, according to ESPN.

The academy — which launched in 2018 as a training facility business venture between Bryant and Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner — will be renamed The Sports Academy with a new website and rebrand.

“Mamba” is a reference to Bryant’s nickname, “The Black Mamba.”

“Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. ‘Mamba’ is one of one,” Faulkner told The Undefeated, according to ESPN. “And with that as we carry on as The Sports Academy, it’s more appropriate to put Kobe in another Hall of Fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do.”

The Sports Academy released a statement about the decision, too.

“Like tens of millions of fans around the globe, Sports Academy’s world drastically changed on January 26, 2020,” the company said in reference to the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

“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,” the statement added. “In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership.”

In February, Vanessa Bryant changed the name of Kobe Bryant’s foundation to be the Mamba Mambacita Sports Foundation, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The change was made in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s passing in January 2020.

“In commemoration of Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, Mamba Sports Foundation will now be known as the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. The Foundation exists to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s legacy in youth sports and beyond.”