Kobe Bryant-Partnered Mamba Sports Academy Drops the 'Mamba'

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The Mamba Sports Academy will go by a new name. The athletic training venture, which the late Kobe Bryant got involved with in 2018, will simply go by Sports Academy from now on.

In a statement posted to their Twitter account on Tuesday, the sports training center announced the news, saying they made the decision "with respect to [Kobe's] unparalleled legacy." Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in January.

"Sports Academy was founded in 2016 by Chad Faulkner with the simple but crucial mission of elevating human performance," the statement began. "In 2018, that aim was enhanced when the Academy partnered with Kobe, Inc. and was reborn as Mamba Sports Academy. What MSA accomplished in the subsequent 14 months was extraordinary, but only scratching the surface of what was possible."

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

Despite the name change, Sports Academy said that their "mission remains unchanged."

Sports Academy is still here to transform and progress the way each of us approach human performance. Sports Academy is still here to support current professionals and guide the next generation of athletes. Sports Academy is still here to provide an integrated and full-circle approach to training," the statement concluded. "And, above all else, Sports Academy is still here for you."

In a followup tweet that contained a press release, Sports Academy added that the decision "was not one we came to lightly or on our own."

"It was a mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of his estate," the press release continued. "Thank you for respecting that decision in these turbulent times."

Though the Mamba Sports Academy will no longer be known as such, Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, has plans for her late husband's foundation. Back in February, Vanessa announced that the Mamba Sports Foundation will now be known as the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, to equally honor both Kobe and Gianna. 

"Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Our mission remains the same -- and stronger than ever -- to provide opportunities to young people through sports," Vanessa wrote. "Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape. #Mamba #Mambacita."

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