To celebrate the Basketball Career at the Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame, along with its successful partnership and its impact on the athletic industry, Nike will launch “Mamba Week” on Sunday, August 23rd, which would be the 42nd birthday of the Los Angeles Lakers icon.
The next day, 8/24, will celebrate both jersey numbers worn during Bryant̵7;s 20-year playing career. The “Mama Week” concept follows the Nike celebration name for Bryant’s last game in the NBA, April 13, 2016, a performance at the Staples Center called “Mamba Day” that saw him leave the sport with a 60-point effort.
The weekly product programming and launch pad will mark the first time Nike has released Bryant’s coveted signature sneakers or sweater since his death in January, when Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a crash. by helicopter while on their way to Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament. Nike worked at the same time with Kobe’s 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 signature models during his playing career and six additional signature models issued after retirement, along with some team shoes at lower prices.
After a series of planning meetings that passed months, Nike has confirmed a continuing commitment to celebrate Bryant through product launches that will eventually benefit funding for youth sports initiatives.
“Nike will continue to release Kobe Protro shoes, allowing the millions of fans it inspired around the world to retain Bryant’s legacy,” the company said. “Nike will also continue to work with the NBA to release limited quantities of Bryant’s iconic Los Angeles Lakers jersey.”
The “Protro” concept itself was originally a term coined by Bryant during a series of meetings of ideal ideas with Nike designers to discuss where his line headed after it was withdrawn. While Michael Jordan’s past sneakers have created a thriving retro sneakers business that still generates about $ 3 billion a year, Bryant wanted to take a different approach than simply releasing each shoe as it is, blending performance and retro into one strategy. .
“We are always looking to build things we have done in the past and try to improve them. Protro is about evolving and improving the things that were,” Bryant said in 2018, shortly before the launch of the Kobe 1 Protro . “I wanted to build a business that was not based solely on things I have done in the past. It is important that the brand stays on performance and that everything we do is innovative. Even if we release shoes from the past, they still need to be built in yield “.
Designers were tasked with updating the shoes from under the hood, using modern construction technologies, shaving weight and improving wrapping options when possible. When the Kobe 4 Protro launched last year to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the model once again took over the NBA solid wood, and was worn by more than 104 players during the fall of 2019.
During “Mamba Week”, Nike is expected to release several colors of the Kobe 5 Protro, sneakers worn by Bryant throughout the 2009-10 NBA season, when it won its fifth championship. A gold accented version will feature graphics from the couples he wore during the 2010 finale, and a collaboration trio of colors with the LA-based Undefeated Boutique will celebrate his upcoming induction Hall of Fame.
The brand will also release the Lakers jerseys, marking both his numbers 8 and 24, with the front of the jersey celebrating the first decade of his career and his second number featured on the back.
“As part of Kobe’s champion legacy, the Nike Foundation will make a $ 1 million donation to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in memory of 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 for Kobe’s further purpose to keep the children active and set them on a path to success in life. “
A major theme of the week will focus on celebrating Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” and the concept of having a relentless work ethic that fans of all backgrounds and regions can relate to and aspire to incorporate into their lives.
In 2018, Bryant released a book under a similar title, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play,” revealing the inspirations that drove his work ethic throughout his NBA career. Since Bryant’s death, players around the league have continued to wear his sneakers and will often refer to “Mamba Mentality” as a driving force of inspiration and connecting point with Bryant’s legacy.
“I asked him [how he defines Mamba Mentality] ‘in simpler terms’ … he told me, ‘Curiosity,’ “said Eric Avar, Bryant’s longtime Nike stylist. He said: “The foundation for Mamba Mentality, for me, is about curiosity. You have to be curious. You have to investigate. You have to learn every aspect. ‘”
In many ways, Bryant applied that approach both to his career and to his post-gaming ambitions. Whether training his daughter’s basketball team at the youth level, investing in a variety of tech and consumer goods companies, working to build a children’s book franchise or developing a short animation of animated called “Dear Basketball” to win an Oscar, he set equally high goals for his retirement that matched the dedication he applied to his NBA career.
In addition to the $ 1 million donation to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, Nike will also help continue to fund and operate the Mamba League, a youth-based league founded in 2017 by Bryant in partnership with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles Angeles.
Originally started as a 40-team basketball division that spanned eight spring weeks between the traditional school team and the AAU summer basketball windows, the Mamba League also pushed for a group of participating boys and girls, while also seeking to provide female coaches with a chance to get more involved.
“Mamba League is a fun league for kids to learn the game and have fun,” Bryant said at the time. “But also, to understand the connection that the game has with life in general, and to turn it into a better boy, a better girl and a better student.”
Although Bryant’s August birthday usually falls during the quietest point of the NBA offseason, the continued resumption of the league and the opening round of the NBA playoffs will fall by chance during the upcoming “Mamba Week” party, with some players in all 16 playoff teams expected to wear the Kobe Signature Sneakers to join the brand’s tribute.