« Kobe taught us to be better, » the Grammy-winning rapper narrates in the 90-second video
On Sunday — which would have been the late basketball star’s 42nd birthday — the brand launched its « Mamba Week, » a celebration that features a lineup of programming and exclusive product offerings inspired by Bryant.
The weeklong event began with a new short film titled Better, which is narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar. In the powerful 90-second film, a montage of throwback footage of Bryant and other star athletes (including Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Naomi Osaka, among others) creates a rousing message about aspiring to be better in everything one does.
According to Nike’s press release, « Mamba Week » will honor Bryant through « three key efforts, » the first being a $1 million donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in honor of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
On Jan. 26, Kobe, Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The crash also claimed the lives of 13-year-old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, 46, 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and the helicopter’s pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
Nike will also release a number of the late athlete’s products — including his coveted signature sneakers and jerseys — for the first time since his tragic death during « Mamba Week. »
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« Nike will continue to release Kobe Protro shoes, allowing the millions of fans he inspired around the world to keep Bryant’s legacy going, » the company said in the statement. « Nike will also continue to work with the NBA to release limited quantities of Bryant’s iconic Los Angeles Lakers jersey. »
Additionally, Nike will continue to support Bryant’s Mamba League partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Los Angeles, which grants kids a place to learn basketball and to be inspired by the game, recruiting an equal number of girls and boys and engaging female coaches.
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In an emotional birthday tribute to Kobe on Sunday, his wife Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram that she loves and misses him « more than I can ever explain. » She wrote: « I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. »
« I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way, » Vanessa added.
« Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong, » she continued. « How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs. Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily. »
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