More details have emerged concerning Mamba Sports Academy removing the late Kobe Bryant's nickname "Mamba" out of its name. The Sports Academy announced in a statement it removed "Mamba" because it was a "mutual agreement" made with Bryant's estate. It's not revealed why Bryant's estate wanted the name off the academy, but it could likely be something Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, requested as she tries to move on after Kobe and their 13-year old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in January.
"Like tens of millions of fans around the globe, Sports Academy’s world drastically changed on January 26, 2020," The Sports Academy said in a statement. "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. In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership. The changing of the name from Mamba Sports Academy to Sports Academy, the original name from 2016, is not a decision we came to lightly or on our own. It was a mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of his estate. Thank you for respecting that decision in these turbulent times."
Bryant, who spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, became involved in The Sports Academy in 2018 which led to the name "Mamba" being added. Despite dropping the "Mamba" name, The Sports Academy will continue to help young athletes reach their potential like Bryant was doing with Gianna as he was a coach for her basketball team.
"Sports Academy’s mission remains unchanged," the statement continued. "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. And, above all else, Sports Academy is still here for you."
When Bryant, Gianna and seven other people died in the crash, The Sports Academy was closed for three days. When the academy opened back up, there was a growing memorial for the victims. "Kobe Bryant was so much more than a partner in Mamba Sports Academy," The Sports Academy said in a statement at the time. "He was a caring father, husband, coach, and champion of youth sports. We mourn not only one of the greatest athletes of all time, but an active and engaged member of our community, and a visionary whose impact was only beginning to be felt by society."