The legendary base career Kobe bryant will be remembered and celebrated along with its successful association and impact on the athletic industry, after the company Nike launches « Mamba Week » on August 23, the date on which the icon of the Los Angeles Lakers would turn 42.
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The following day, the two jersey numbers worn during Bryant’s two-decade playing career will be celebrated.
The concept of « Mamba Week » follows the name of Nike’s celebration of Bryant’s last NBA game., the April 13, 2016 outing at Staples Center called « Mamba Day » that saw him leave the field and retire from active sports with 60 points against the Utah Jazz.
The week-long schedule of product launches will mark the first time Nike has released Bryant’s coveted exclusive sneakers or jerseys since his tragic death in January, when Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash while en route. to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament.
Nike worked together with his wife Vanessa Bryant to finalize the « Mamba Week » strategy., according to sources.
Initially, there was internal uncertainty after Bryant’s death surrounding the company’s plans for its Kobe sneaker series, which included 11 exclusive models during his playing career, six additional exclusive models released after his retirement, along with several lower priced shoes.
After a series of planning meetings that spanned months, Nike has confirmed an ongoing commitment to celebrate Bryant through product launches that will ultimately benefit funding for youth sports initiatives.
« Nike will continue to release Kobe ‘Protro’ athletic shoes, allowing the millions of fans he inspired around the world to keep Bryant’s legacy alive »the company reported in a statement. « Nike will also continue to work with the NBA to release limited quantities of Bryant’s iconic Los Angeles Lakers jersey. »
The concept « Protro » itself was initially a term coined by Bryant during a series of brainstorming meetings with Nike designers to discuss where his line was heading after his retirement.
While Michael Jordan’s previous sneakers have created a thriving retro sneaker business that still generates around 3 billion a year, Bryant wanted to take a different approach than simply releasing each shoe as is, combining performance and retro in one strategy.
« We always look to take advantage of the things that we have done in the past and try to improve them. Protro is about evolving and improving the things that were, » Bryant commented in 2018, just before the launch of the Kobe 1 Protro.
The former NBA star also said at the time that he wanted to build a business that wasn’t just based on things he had done in the past.
« It is important that the brand is synonymous with performance and that everything we do is innovative. Even if we do release footwear from the past, it still needs to be based on performance, « Bryant said.
During ‘Mamba Week’, Nike is expected to release various colors of the Kobe 5 Protro, the sneakers Bryant wore during the 2009-10 NBA season when he won his fifth championship.
A gold-accented version will feature graphics of the pairs she wore during the 2010 Finals, while a trio of colourways featuring Los Angeles-based boutique Undefeated will celebrate her induction into the Hall of Fame.
The brand will also release Lakers jerseys featuring his numbers 8 and 24, with the front half of the jersey celebrating the first decade of his career and his second number on the back.
« As part of upholding Kobe’s legacy, the Nike Foundation will make a one million dollar donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in memory of Kobe and Gianna, » Nike reported. « The foundation, whose mission is to make a positive impact through sports, will use these funds to further Kobe’s goal of keeping children active and moving them toward success in life, as well as preserving Bryant’s mindset and ethics. » .
In 2018, Bryant published a book with a similar title, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, which reveals the inspirations that fueled his work ethic throughout his 20-year NBA career.
Since his passing, League players have continued to wear his shoes and will often refer to that « Mamba Mentality » as a driving force of inspiration and a connection point to Bryant’s legacy.