Kobe Bryant's Nickname: Why Was NBA Legend Called Black Mamba?

Caitlin Albers

The world is mourning Kobe Bryant after it was revealed on Sunday afternoon that the basketball great died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The news only worsened when it was revealed that one of Kobe's four daughters, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, was also among the deceased in the crash. Within minutes, Twitter became the place for fans and celebrities to remember the Los Angeles Lakers player, and nearly every trending topic revolved around the basketballer in some way.

Two of the biggest trends currently are #RIPMamba and #MambaOut, as fans pay tribute to Kobe by his nickname. Many know the Olympian by the legendary nickname, but not many people might know where it came from. While most people are given nicknames by fans and friends, Black Mamba was an alter-ego Kobe gave himself during one of the darkest times in his life, according to Business Insider.

In Kobe's 2015 documentary, Muse, he revealed the origin of Black Mamba. The father-of-four was accused of sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in 2003 in Colorado. Kobe doesn't directly address the allegations in Muse, but he hints at the time and how his family was almost completely shattered and how it severely changed the public's perception of him.

"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," Kobe said in his documentary.

"I had to separate myself," Kobe noted.

"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."

The Black Mamba mantra saved Kobe. It was a way for him to cope when the world turned against him, and it has become one of the most famous monikers associated with any athlete.

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