• Mamba Sports Academy renamed its company brand, choosing to drop the "Mamba" name officially 
  • The decision to rebrand was to honor the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant
  • Sports Academy CEO Faulkner expressed that deciding to rename was what he deemed appropriate

Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy has reportedly been renamed to honor the late NBA legend.

Four months after the tragic and untimely death of Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the Mamba Sports Academy has announced that it is rebranding and will now be using its original name: The Sports Academy. The recent decision to drop the “Mamba” name from the academy was out of respect for the late LA Lakers shooting guard.

According to a report by TMZ, the TSA said that the decision for rebranding was a “mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of [Kobe's] estate.” The academy’s name change came just weeks after Kobe’s Mamba Foundation, now called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, was also renamed.

The death of Kobe Bryant shocked fans and players around the world
The death of Kobe Bryant shocked fans and players around the world GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Harry How

Bryant’s sports foundation, which is also part of the academy, aims to service indigent and underserved communities by extending sports education. The foundation also funds sports training for aspiring young women athletes.

Launched back in 2016, the academy is a youth sports training business that has gathered over 50,000 athletes to its flagship center in Thousand Oaks. The company then went on to partner with Bryant in December 2018, after which the facility was renamed the Mamba Sports Academy.

The late LA Lakers star worked closely with the company, eventually launching the joint athletic training venture with Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner.

Kobe was recognizably involved with the sports company and would often travel to the MSA facility in Thousand Oaks until the helicopter crash incident in the morning of Jan. 26 that took his life. Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, were among the nine people who died on their way to the sports academy.

On Tuesday (May 12), the Sports Academy sent out a release regarding the official name change. Faulkner elaborated on the decision on an interview with ESPN’s "The Undefeated."

kobe bryant lakers 2016
Kobe Bryant plays the final game of his 20-year career Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz. Getty Images

"Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. 'Mamba' is one of one," the Sports Academy CEO explained. "And with that as we carry on as the Sports Academy, it's more appropriate to put Kobe in another hall of fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do.”

As to why the Sports Academy’s CEO pushed through with the rebranding, Faulkner’s decision was driven by the magnitude of the tragic incident and feels uncomfortable keeping the NBA legend’s iconic name in the company.

“If there’s any comfort that any of us have, it’s just the magnitude of the really positive influence Kobe had on the world,” the CEO expressed. “When the events of [January] 26th played out, and everybody was just trying to get back on their feet, there was a form of love around everything that Kobe had done, and such a great appreciation in that regard.”

Meanwhile, Faulkner also looked back on the things that they learned from the late NBA legend. "We were fortunate to learn from Kobe,” he said. “We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

Amid the announcement, the Academy has already changed its website to its original name. Faulkner and his athletic training company will also be making changes to the signages at its facilities in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.

Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the start of the Grammys
Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the start of the Grammys AFP / Robyn Beck