Holdan Hitchcock
Arts and Culture Editor

A photo is taken in a charcoal grey office, filled with a collection of vinyl records and assorted speakers placed throughout the room. In this photo you can see, are outstretched legs on a couch with a pair of Nike Jordans colored in white, purple, and gold. The tips of the shoes pointing directly to the center of the photo where a portrait of Kobe Bryant is on display.

The caption for the photo, “MAMBA FOREVER!”.

On January 26. 2020, Kobe Bryant alongside his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

A year later on the anniversary of that tragic accident, an internet community of “sneakerheads” on Reddit presented their Kobe Bryant sneakers in remembrance of the life of Mamba.  Dozens of users would then continue to post sneakers with the caption “Mamba Forever” for their admiration of Bryant. The most popular of the set of photos posted to r/sneakers by u/manfredvonkoreander.

Bryant was one of the greatest talents the basketball world may ever see. He has to his name 18 all-star selections, his five championships, his two championship MVP trophies, his two scoring champion seasons, his MVP season in the 2007-2008 NBA season, and his Hall of Fame career. On top of his accomplishments on the court, he created a culture outside of the game of basketball.

“The Black Mamba” is a nickname of Bryant’s own doing. It is an alter ego of sorts to represent Kobe Bryant the basketball player whose grit and lethality on the court would strike fear in his opponents. The alter ego would go on to inspire a whole new generation of athletes and fans.

From this, a whole new ideology has formed. The “Mamba Mentality” is a combination of intense work ethic and persistence that Bryant had showcased on and off the court. There are three Nike commercials where that work ethic is brilliantly on display.

Most comically is this commercial with Kobe Bryant and Kanye West, poking fun at what would later become “Mamba Mentality”.

A second Nike commercial encapsulates the essence of who Kobe Bryant was and the generation that was inspired by his mentality of being better than the day before. Better

And finally, this Nike commercial documents the career of Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant, the person created a culture of determination and motivation. He has been named dropped in more songs than any other professional athlete, and was even referenced in the DreamWorks movie “MegaMind.” Anytime someone goes to wad up a piece of trash and shoot it in the garbage can as if it were a basketball going into the hoop, that someone will say “KOBE” before shooting it.

A whole culture of artists, athletes, fans, creators, workers, students, innovators, singers, rappers, and sneakerheads, have been influenced to work harder and to be better every day. They were not just influenced by Kobe Bryant the Hall of Fame basketball player but Kobe Bryant the person. Mamba Forever.