Mamba Sports Academy: The School That Kobe Bryant Built

Kobe Bryant looks enthusiastic on the court in his Lakers jersey.
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Mamba Sports Academy — the training facility that was Kobe Bryant’s passion project — was the reported destination of the basketball legend, his daughter Gianna, and seven others when their helicopter crashed into a mountain in Calabasas, California.

The school was created in 2018 as a multi-sport training center for young athletes and was reportedly near to the heart of the basketball legend, who brought his daughter there to train before becoming officially involved with the business side of the facility.

The school’s official site explains its approach to overall athletic training, which includes three types of concentration. Areas of concentration include body, performance, and cognitive training. When combined, these elements provide superior conditioning for athletes both young and old. The Mamba Sports Academy also focuses on three different ventures: sports training academies, a venture lab, and a charitable foundation called the Mamba Sports Foundation.

The academy also boasts rooms reserved for trainers, a doctor’s office, and a cognition lab. In the lab, the reaction time of athletes can be determined — a crucial aspect of instruction when a player is trying to better their overall game — per USA Today.

Some of the more specific programs offered at the school include basketball camps where players — from beginner to intermediate to advanced — could strengthen their skills on the court, clinics for young children who are new to the game, and leagues for both children and adults.

The History Of Mamba Sports Academy

Originally known as the Sports Academy, the facility opened in 2016 under CEO and founder Chad Faulkner and currently supports upward of 50,000 athletes. It was formed to help athletes reach the peak of their potential as both players and team members. In 2018, Bryant and Faulkner partnered to rebrand Sports Academy to its current name of Mamba Sports Academy. Bryant detailed his vision for the academy in a 2018 statement, according to the L.A. Sentinel.

“Sports Academy has perfected the art and science of athletic training, from elite players to young kids getting started. MAMBA Sports Academy is a natural expansion of my commitment to educating and empowering the next generation of kids through sports… As a basketball coach to young girls, my team trained at Sports Academy, which is when I first experienced the superior level of services and attention to detail their experts delivered to our team. At MAMBA Sports Academy, we will focus on offering a premium experience on proper training for young athletes, and infuse a little ‘Mamba Mentality’ into their programs.”

Who Is Chad Faulkner?

Chad Faulkner is a former professional football player who finished his career as a captain of Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder’s first team at Kansas State University in 1989. He remains the chief executive officer of the company.

Through his work with Bryant, Faulkner expanded on his business plan, considering the athletic student as a whole — working on their skills, overall wellness, and ways to enhance their performance holistically.

Faulkner is married to wife Leah and is a father to two children, Bella and Stone.

Mamba Sports Academy Reacts To Kobe Bryant’s Death

According to ClutchPoints, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were scheduled to arrive at the facility on January 26 to begin a basketball camp. More than 100 kids were awaiting Bryant’s arrival when the academy learned of the tragic accident that had taken the lives of nine people, including the lives of Gianna and her father. Footage captured from the academy gymnasium illustrates that nearly everyone in attendance took a knee in response to the news of the accident.