Why Kobe Bryant chose to be called the 'Black Mamba'
A closer look at what inspired the iconic moniker
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was one of the most dangerous players to ever step on an NBA court. Bryant could score from anywhere on the floor and dazzled fans throughout his 20-year career.
Over the years, Bryant began calling himself the "Black Mamba." But why exactly did the Lakers star choose to use that nickname?
In a 2018 interview with Kent Babb of The Washington Post, Bryant revealed that the movie "Kill Bill" was the primary motivation for the "Black Mamba" nickname. In the film, an assassin uses a black mamba snake to kill another character.
"The length, the snake, the bite, the strike, the temperament," Bryant said during the interview. "'Let me look this s— up.' I looked it up — yeah, that's me. That's me!'"
The purpose of becoming the "Black Mamba" was for Bryant to have an alter ego. It was a chance for Bryant to become an assassin on the court.
Showtime produced a documentary about Bryant called "Muse" back in 2015 and it took a closer look of Bryant's career.
"I had to separate myself," Kobe said during the documentary. "It felt like there were so many things coming at once. It was just becoming very, very confusing. I had to organize things. So I created the 'Black Mamba.'"
Bryant's alter ego certainly did him quite a few favors throughout his stellar NBA career. He utilized the assassin-like mentality to drill shots against his opponents and came up in the clutch in the most crucial of the moments.
The Lakers star ended up propelling the franchise to an NBA title in 2010 against the Boston Celtics. Just two years earlier in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant and the Lakers fell short at the hands of the Celtics in a six-game series.
Bryant was able to come back and average 28.6 points-per-game throughout the 2010 NBA Finals. The sharpshooting guard also earned NBA Finals MVP honors for his performance in the series.
Bryant's light shined bright even into his final NBA game in 2016, when he scored 60 points in a season finale win over the Utah Jazz. In doing so, he became the oldest NBA player (37 years old) to score 60 or more points in a game.
It's hard to argue how much this mentality helped Bryant on the court and it's a moniker that he utilized to the fullest.