Gone but will forever live in our hearts, Kobe Bryant was one of those superstars who transcended their field, inspiring many with his unquenchable competitive fire and sublime skills. A titan of the game of basketball, Kobe leaves behind a legacy of a fierce competitor, a champion and a beloved sportsman.
However, following the news of his demise along with his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday afternoon, one of the biggest trends currently on Twitter is #RIPMamba. Fans, former teammates and world celebrities are paying tribute to the NBA icon by his nickname, a name many people know the Olympian by, but not many might know its origin.
Often referred to as “Black Mamba“, Kobe’s moniker was created by himself as an alter-ego to get through the darkest part of his life. He revealed the origin of the nickname in a 2015 documentary, Muse, where he disclosed that his family was almost shattered due to rape allegations of a 19-year-old woman in 2003 in Colorado – a case which was later dropped when the accuser failed to turn up to court.
In the documentary, he also remembered getting the idea of the nickname from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill in 2014, where the Black Mamba is described as a deadly assassin due to its agility and aggressiveness. After thoroughly researching the animal, he believed his basketball skills perfectly mirrored the agility and ruthlessness of both the snake and character.
From there on out, he realized that his professional and personal life needed to stay apart, noting that “Kobe” would deal with issues off the court, and the “Black Mamba” would deal with issues on the court.
Kobe won five NBA titles with the Lakers, was MVP in 2009, led the USA to Olympic gold twice and scored a stunning 33,643 points in his 20-year career.