Kobe Bryant Short Film Better Narrated by Kendrick Lamar Launches Nike's 'Mamba Week' — Watch
On Sunday — which would have been the late basketball star's 42nd birthday — the brand launched its "Mamba Week," a celebration that features a lineup of programming and exclusive product offerings inspired by Bryant.
The weeklong event began with a new short film titled Better, which is narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar. In the powerful 90-second film, a montage of throwback footage of Bryant and other star athletes (including Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Naomi Osaka, among others) creates a rousing message about aspiring to be better in everything one does.
"Kobe taught us to be better," narrates Lamar, 33. "... Just be better."
According to Nike's press release, "Mamba Week" will honor Bryant through "three key efforts," the first being a $1 million donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in honor of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
On Jan. 26, Kobe, Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The crash also claimed the lives of 13-year-old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, 46, 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and the helicopter's pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
Nike will also release a number of the late athlete's products — including his coveted signature sneakers and jerseys — for the first time since his tragic death during "Mamba Week."
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"Nike will continue to release Kobe Protro shoes, allowing the millions of fans he inspired around the world to keep Bryant's legacy going," the company said in the statement. "Nike will also continue to work with the NBA to release limited quantities of Bryant's iconic Los Angeles Lakers jersey."
Additionally, Nike will continue to support Bryant’s Mamba League partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Los Angeles, which grants kids a place to learn basketball and to be inspired by the game, recruiting an equal number of girls and boys and engaging female coaches.
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In an emotional birthday tribute to Kobe on Sunday, his wife Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram that she loves and misses him "more than I can ever explain." She wrote: "I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi."
"I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way," Vanessa added.
"Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong," she continued. "How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs. Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily."
Contributions to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.