Note: The following was written for Buhay Basket
The sudden and tragic passing of Kobe Bryant back in January brought the entire world to a halt. The news that he, along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others, died in a fatal helicopter crash just as he was getting his post-retirement life together was devastating, and for me, personally, was extremely tough to move on from. Even until today, seven months later, the world still mourns Kobe’s loss.
And as a way to continue honoring Kobe, Nike is launching Mamba Week, a celebration of his Hall of Fame basketball career and the global impact he had, starting August 23 — which would have been his 42nd birthday. The concept, which is an entire week of programming and retail launches, draws inspiration from Nike’s commemoration of Kobe’s last NBA game on April 13, 2016 which was dubbed “Mamba Day”. Yes, the game where he gave us that 60-point finale.
During Mamba Week, Nike will champion Kobe’s legacy through three key efforts: providing a $1 million donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, amplifying his message through the Mamba League and extending his legacy of inspiration and innovation through select Kobe products.
Throughout the week-long celebration, Nike will drop several colorways of the Kobe 5 Protro, beginning on August 23 with the “Big Stage Parade” which features gold accents and graphics from the pairs he wore during the 2010 NBA finals. A version of the Kobe 5 Proto in the Lakers’ team hues, and the “EYBL” in forest green is also slated to release, as well as a couple of collaborations with Undefeated.
On August 24 (8/24), both numbers that Kobe wore during his NBA career will be honored through limited quantities of Nike Laker jerseys. The front of the jersey will feature the no. 8 to represent the first decade of Kobe’s career, while the no. 24 will appear on the back.
Mamba Week will be the first time Nike will release Kobe’s sneakers or jerseys since his unfortunate death in January, and it is believed that Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, worked closely with the brand for this initiative.
Kobe was a one-of-a-kind player who achieved many accolades throughout his 20-year career in the NBA. He was an MVP, a many-time champion, a many time All-Star, and an Olympic gold medalist. When he hung up his sneakers, he strived to excel in other things. His unwavering passion to push his limits went beyond the basketball court and into his creative storytelling masterpieces, which earned him an Oscar.
But more than his accomplishments, he is most remembered for his unparalleled determination and perseverance to become the best version he can be — the Mamba Mentality — and he continues to be an inspiration to people from all walks of life. Even more so, Kobe will always be remembered for being the loving husband he was to Vanessa and the caring father he was to his daughters. We lost a great person. But his memory and legacy lives on. #MambaForever