Kobe Bryant turned to Tarantino's Kill Bill for his nickname 'Black Mamba' to tide over career low
The late NBA legend came up with the ruse that he would be Kobe Bryant slam dunking on the court, and be Black Mamba off it
Hours after Kobe Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash, tributes poured in for the Los Angeles Lakers legend and the most searched trends were #RIPMamba and #MambaOut, Bryant's nickname.
While nicknames are usually bestowed by fans, Kobe named himself the Black Mamba at a time in his career when things were looking bleak for the NBA star. Turn back the clock to the summer of 2003 when Bryant was arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado.
Bryant was accused of rape and his reputation instantly plummeted. His endorsements with big brands were terminated. The incident had an impact on his personal life too, as was revealed by him in his 2015 documentary 'Muse'.
Bryant spoke about how the case adversely affected his family and changed the way the public perceived him. According to Inquisitr, Bryant said in the documentary: "I went from a person who was at the top of his game, had everything coming, to a year later, having absolutely no idea where life is going or if you are even going to be a part of life as we all know it."
As reported by Business Insider, Kobe recollected an incident. "I hear everything the crowd is saying. I hear it." Bryant says following a clip during which Boston Celtics fans can be heard chanting "Kobe sucks!"
"So, it's like this place where it was my refuge is now being bombarded with all kinds of things they would say."
"I had to separate myself," Kobe added. "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 also shed light on what made him pick the nickname.
He said the idea came from Quentin Tarantino's cult classic, 'Kill Bill'. Uma Thurman's character was codenamed Black Mamba and the character traits include being agile and aggressive. He was impressed thoroughly and decided to name himself after researching on the reptile as well.
According to Mirror, it would be Kobe who would dunk it in court, and the star would be Black Mamba off it. In a way, it could be safely assumed that this worked well for Bryant as a coping mechanism— it was the start of his rise back to the top. However, despite all the controversy, Bryant was well-loved. There were ample interviews and articles that suggested he was "the perfect family man". Add to it his interests in books and pop culture off the field after calling time on his decorated career.
Bryant was also instrumental in developing the WNBA. According to a USA Today article, he said: "It’s been beautiful watching them grow,” the 18-time All-Star and five-time champion told the outlet. Bryant also partnered with Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner in 2018 to revamp the 100,000-square-foot facility, which now counts five basketball courts, five volleyball courts, two beach volleyball courts, and batting cages.
His death comes as a terrible piece of news and a great loss to the NBA family. Bryant was a household name and his absence will be felt in a long time. But the fact that he was a legend will remain.