Kobe Bryant’s sports academy makes puzzling decision to remove ‘Mamba’ from name
The Mamba Sports Academy was appropriately named in honor of Kobe Bryant after the NBA legend invested in the business venture back in 2018, but that name is changing now that Bryant is no longer living.
Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner, who partnered with Kobe for the athletic training venture two years ago, told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears on Tuesday that he is changing the name of the Mamba Sports Academy back to The Sports Academy. Faulkner said the decision was made out of respect for Bryant.
“Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. ‘Mamba’ is one of one,” Faulkner explained. “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.”
The decision is puzzling to many. It seems like it would make more sense to honor Bryant by keeping his nickname attached to the training center, but Faulkner doesn’t see it that way. Kobe was heavily involved with The Mamba Academy and hosted a workout and classroom tutorial with several of the NBA’s top players there. It would appear Faulkner thinks it is no longer appropriate to use Bryant’s nickname since Kobe can no longer be a part of that.
One other way The Sports Academy could honor Bryant is with a memorial at the Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach locations.
“That will really end up being up to the desires of the family and to the respect of the family,” Faulkner said. “For us, we leave that up to the future. This is such a critical time for the family to keep working through the grieving process and everything they’re working for. We are going to play really conservative from that approach. We are all for it. … But it’s really not necessarily the right thing for us to do proactively.”
You have to assume Faulkner thought he was doing the right thing, but the decision to remove “Mamba” from the name is bizarre. The Mamba Academy was a huge part of Kobe’s life, and he and his daughter Gianna were on the way there at the time of their tragic helicopter crash.