To celebrate his basketball career in Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame, together with a longtime successful partnership and impact on the sports industry, Nike will kick off “Mamba Week” on Sunday, 23rd. August, this will be the 42nd birthday of the Los Angeles Lakers icon.
The next day, August 24, will celebrate both numbers worn during Bryant̵7;s 20-year career. The concept of “Mamba Week” as the name for Bryant’s final NBA match celebration, April 13, 2016, the performance at the Staples Center called “Mamba Day” saw him. leave the sport with an effort of 60 points.
The week-long programming and product launch program will mark the first time Nike has released the signature sneakers or jersey that Bryant coveted since his death in January, when Bryant, the His sister Gianna and 7 others were killed in a helicopter crash while en route to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament. Nike worked in tandem with Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, to perfect the “Mamba Week” strategy, according to sources.
Initially, there was internal uncertainty in the aftermath of Bryant’s death surrounding the company’s plans for his Kobe sneaker line, which included 11 signature samples from his competitive career and 6 Additional signature samples were released after he retired, along with some lower priced shoes.
After a series of months-long planning meetings, Nike has confirmed its commitment to continually celebrating Bryant through end product releases that will benefit sponsorship of sports initiatives. for teenagers.
“Nike will continue to release the Kobe Protro shoe, allowing the millions of fans he has inspired around the world to keep Bryant’s legacy going,” the company said. “Nike will also continue to work with the NBA to release a limited edition Bryant’s iconic Los Angeles Lakers jersey.”
The “Protro” concept itself was originally a term coined by Bryant during a series of brainstorming meetings with Nike designers to discuss his position at the top of his product line after he was. retirement. While Michael Jordan’s past sneakers have created a thriving retro sneaker business that still generates around $ 3 billion annually, Bryant wants to take an approach other than just publishing Each pair of shoes, combine performance and retro into one strategy.
“We’re always looking for ways to build things we’ve done in the past and try to improve them. Protro aims to evolve and improve what’s already there,” Bryant said in 2018, right away. before the launch of Kobe 1 Protro. “I want to build a business based on not just the things I’ve done in the past. It’s important that the brand stands for performance and everything we do is innovative. I release the old shoes, they still have to be performance-based. “
Designers are tasked with upgrading the shoes from under the hood, using modern construction technologies, scraping weights and upgrading cushioning options when possible. When the Kobe 4 Protro debuted last year to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the shoe once again dominated the NBA hardwood hardware and was worn by more than 104 players in the fall of 2019.
During “Mamba Week”, Nike is expected to release several color schemes of the Kobe 5 Protro, the sneakers worn by Bryant during the 2009-10 NBA season, when he wins his fifth championship. A version with gold accents will feature graphics from the pairs he wore during the 2010 Finals, and a color-coordinated trio in partnership with the LA-based store Undefeated will celebrate the introduction of Hall of Fame. his upcoming hope.
The brand will also release the Lakers jersey that features both his number 8 and number 24, with the front of the first decade commemorative shirt of his career and his second number featured on the back.
“As part of supporting Kobe’s legacy, the Nike Foundation will donate $ 1 million to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in tribute to Kobe and Gianna,” the company said in a statement. “The Foundation, whose mission is to make a positive impact through sport, will use these funds to continue towards Kobe’s goal of keeping children active and driving them on a path to success in life.”
A major theme for the week will focus on celebrating Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” and the concept of a relentless work ethic that fans of all backgrounds and regions can relate to and look forward to. their life.
In 2018, Bryant released a book with the same title, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play”, revealing inspirations driving his work ethic throughout his NBA career. . Since Bryant’s death, players across the tournament have continued to wear his sneakers and have often viewed “Mamba Mentality” as an inspiration and a connection to Bryant’s legacy.
“I asked him [how he defines Mamba Mentality] Eric Avar, Bryant’s longtime Nike designer, told me: “in the simplest of terms” … he said to me: “Curiosity,” said Eric Avar, longtime Nike designer of Bryant, said. “He said,” The cornerstone of the Mamba Mentality is, to me, curiosity. You must be curious. You must investigate. You have to learn every aspect. ”
In many ways, Bryant has applied that approach to both his career and his post-match ambitions. Whether coaching his daughter’s basketball team at a young level, investing in multiple tech and consumer goods companies, working to branding children’s books, or developing an animated film the short “Dear Basketball” will give you an Oscar with equally lofty post-retirement goals commensurate with the dedication he made to his NBA career.
In addition to a $ 1 million grant to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, Nike will also help continue to sponsor and operate the Mamba League, a junior youth tournament launched by Bryant in 2017 alongside The Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles.
Initially starting as a basketball division featuring 40 eight-week spring-long teams between the traditional school soccer team and the summer AAU basketball windows, the Mamba League also promoted an equal number of boys and girls to join. and seeks to provide female coaches with an opportunity to be more involved.
“The Mamba League is a fun tournament for kids to learn and have fun,” said Bryant. “But also, to understand the connection between game and life in general, and transform that into a better boy, a better girl and a better student.”
Although Bryant’s August birthday typically falls in the quietest part of the NBA season, the continuing reboot and the opening of the NBA playoffs will coincidentally fall into the “Mamba Week” celebration. In the near future, with a handful of players from all 16 playoff teams expected to wear signature Kobe sneakers to participate in the brand’s tribute.