"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," the academy said on Tuesday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 12, 2020 01:11 PM
Credit: Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

The Mamba Sports Academy, co-founded by Kobe Bryant, has officially retired "Mamba" from its name.

In a statement posted to its website on Tuesday, the basketball training facility announced it has reverted back to "The Sports Academy," its name before the company partnered with Bryant in 2018.

According to the statement, the academy said it decided to drop "Mamba" — a reference to Bryant's famous nickname, the "Black Mamba" — from its name out of respect for his "unparalleled legacy."

"Like tens of millions of fans around the globe, Sports Academy’s world drastically changed on January 26, 2020," the company said, referring to the day 41-year-old Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

"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," the statement continued. "In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership."

Kobe Bryant
| Credit: Kobe Bryant/Instagram

Bryant and Gianna — along with John AltobelliKeri AltobelliAlyssa AltobelliSarah Chester, Payton ChesterChristina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan — were headed to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy's Thousand Oaks location on the morning of the crash.

"Sports Academy’s mission remains unchanged," the company's 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," the company added. "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."

In an interview with ESPN, Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner — who founded the company in 2016 — said they were fortunate to learn from Bryant during their 14-month partnership.

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"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," he added. "We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

If you would like to help the families of the victims of the crash, consider donating to the Mamba on Three Fund. Contributions to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.