Mamba Sports Academy to change name out of respect for Kobe Bryant

The Mamba Sports Academy is now known by a different name: Sports Academy.

Sports Academy’s CEO Chad Faulkner announced on Tuesday that out of respect for Kobe Bryant, “Mamba” has been dropped from the name of the business and fitness venture that he and Bryant started in 2018. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash in January along with seven others, who were all on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game.

"Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. 'Mamba' is one of one," Faulkner told ESPN’s The Undefeated. "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.

"We were fortunate to learn from Kobe. We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

“Black Mamba” was the alter ego Bryant created for himself, and he described the Mamba Mentality as a way of life. In 2017 he said that it’s the “simplest form of just trying to get better at whatever you’re doing,” more about the journey than the actual results.

Out of respect, Kobe Bryant's nickname "Mamba" will be removed from the name of the Mamba Sports Academy. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Sports Academy was started in 2016, but rebranded in December 2018 following the partnership with Bryant. The mission of the Sports Academy will remain the same despite the name change, according to a statement released by the company.

Sports Academy’s mission remains unchanged. Sports Academy is still here to transform the way each of us approach human performance. Sports Academy is still here to support current professionals and guide the next generation of athletes. Sports Academy is still here to provide an integrated and full-circle approach to training.

Faulkner told The Undefeated that he’s open to placing memorials to Bryant at both of the Sports Academy’s locations, but would only want to do that if the Bryant family gave their blessing.

"That will really end up being up to the desires of the family and to the respect of the family," Faulkner said to The Undefeated. "For us, we leave that up to the future. This is such a critical time for the family to keep working through the grieving process and everything they're working for. We are going to play really conservative from that approach. We are all for it... But it's really not necessarily the right thing for us to do proactively."

As of Tuesday, the Sports Academy’s website and logo have been rebranded without the word “Mamba.”

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