Sports Academy Retires 'Mamba' From Name Out of Respect for Kobe Bryant

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The Mamba Sports Academy has announced it will retire the "Mamba" in its name. 

The academy added the nickname to its title in 2018 after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner. Mamba derived from Bryant's nickname "The Black Mamba."

"Like tens of millions of fans around the globe, Sports Academy's world drastically changed on January 26, 2020," the 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."

Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in the hills of Calabasas with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. The group was on their way to a basketball game at the academy that morning.

Faulkner said that he would be willing to place a memorial for Bryant at the academy but only if granted permission by the Bryant family. 

"That will really end up being up to the desires of the family and to the respect of the family," Faulkner told ESPN. "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."