LOS ANGELES - Nike is honoring the career of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on April 13 for “Mamba Day,” a day that marks the final game of his astonishing NBA career four years ago.
"Mamba Day," will feature 200 athletes paying tribute to the iconic NBA star by wearing black and gold Nike shoes, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant played his final game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, also known as “The House Kobe Bryant Built.” Bryant clocked in over 42 minutes and dominated the game with 60 points, bringing the Lakers to a 101-96 win. It was a treacherous year for the Lakers who finished the 2015-16 NBA season last in the Western Conference with a 17-65 record.
Still, NBA fans filled arenas nationwide to celebrate Bryant’s final season and see the Black Mamba on the court one last time.
Bryant’s final game followed his famous “Mamba Out,” farewell speech.
Bryant who grew up a “die-hard Laker fan,” said in part:
“It is not about the championships, it is about the down years. We did it the right way, we got our championships, all I can do is thank you guys, thank you guys for all the support, thank you guys for the motivation, thank you guys for the inspiration,” before ending with “What can I say, Mamba out.”
Bryant’s spectacular career includes five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and 18 NBA All-Star game appearances.
After retiring from the NBA, Bryant pursued other endeavors, including coaching his daughter's basketball team, opening Mamba Sports Academy, and even winning an Academy Award for his animated short film "Dear Basketball."
"The Wizenard Series: Season One," the second installment of the series, became a New York Times bestseller last week. His wife, Vanessa Bryant, praised his latest accomplishment on Instagram.
Bryant was killed in a tragic helicopter crash on what was a foggy morning in the Los Angeles area on January 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.