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Kobe, The Mamba Mentality, and How It Applies to Building a Brand

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Mamba Mentality and Building A Brand - Kobe Bryant Memorial

In the wake of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s untimely death, many are thinking back on his life and the legacy that he leaves behind. Bryant made a significant impact not only in the world of basketball but in the world as a whole.

A good friend of Bryant and the person some call the greatest basketball player ever to play, Michael Jordan, expressed his condolences and released a statement following Bryant’s passing.

In addition to being a basketball great and a devoted father and husband, many will also remember him for his Mamba Mentality.

This simple phrase encompassed so much of how Bryant lived his life. It also exemplifies how people will remember him.

Keep reading to learn what the Mamba Mentality is, how Bryant incorporated it into his life, and how you can use similar tactics to build your own brand.

What is the Mamba Mentality?

Bryant described the Mamba Mentality as a mindset that applied to much more than just basketball. However, it coincided extremely well with playing basketball because it is the “ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit.” The name comes from Bryant’s well-known nickname on the court, Black Mamba.

How did Bryant get the nickname Black Mamba?

Many nicknames come to pass from chance encounters or banter among friends, but neither was the case for Bryant. The basketball star actually gave his famous nickname to himself.

According to a Washington Post interview, after Bryant watched Quentin Tarantino’s action film Kill Bill, he started calling himself Black Mamba. He made this choice because one of the assassins in the movie uses a black mamba snake to kill one of his enemies.

Why did Bryant need to give himself a nickname?

“Black Mamba” became much more than just a nickname for Bryant. It was his alter-ego on the court. In 2003, Bryant was at a low point in his career and his life, primarily brought on by being accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman and the near-breakup of his family.

He needed to reinvent himself to escape the turmoil in which he found himself. Black Mamba became his way out.

Bryant bifurcated his life so that “Black Mamba” could excel on the court while “Kobe” could take care of the mess in his personal life.

Bryant used Black Mamba to channel all his pent-up anger and frustration onto the court to overcome his opponents. The metaphor of the snake worked perfectly for Bryant from its explosive energy to its ability to shed its skin.

What Made People Buy into the Mamba Mentality?

Bryant’s autobiographical book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, was popular at its release, but sales have skyrocketed since his death. Needless to say, Bryant’s Mamba Mentality left a significant impact on people throughout the world. What exactly has made people buy into the Mamba Mentality concept?


While most people have not faced the challenges that Bryant underwent, everyone has gone through some sort of struggle in their lives. We have all suffered setbacks from which we have needed to bounce back.

Mamba Mentality exemplifies not letting anything hold you back from success. This sentiment is something to which everyone can relate.


Mamba Mentality doesn’t require advanced knowledge of a topic to understand. You don’t even need to know anything about basketball to get the message and apply it to your life.

People are much more likely to connect with something that doesn’t take significant effort to comprehend.


Everything from how the nickname came about to the way Bryant employed the mentality throughout his career was organic and unique to him. He was never trying to copy the people around him.

He found a tactic that worked for him and ran with it.


People love uplifting messages. Life can be challenging and feel insurmountable at times. Everyone needs something in which they can believe in.

Kobe Bryant became that person for many people through his distinctive brand of the Mamba Mentality.

How You Can Get People to Buy into Your Brand Too

A brand is a promise of delivery. However, the thing being delivered changes in every situation. It can be anything from a personality to a product. Brands help people to know what to expect.

When you open a can of Coca-Cola, you know exactly what to expect because the company has crafted one of the most robust and cohesive brands in the world.

Kobe Bryant built up his Mamba Mentality brand so that people knew exactly what to expect when they encountered him on the court. If you want to build a brand, either for your company or for yourself, you must keep in mind all the attributes of the Mamba Mentality listed above.

In addition, you should also consider the biggest key to building an impactful brand.


People will only come to recognize your brand if they see it enough to associate it with you. You can’t call your product one thing today and something different tomorrow.

You also need to make sure that your message is clear and that all correspondence sounds like it is coming from the same entity.

Bryant consistently used Black Mamba throughout the second half of his career and even named his foundation, Mamba Sports Foundation, in congruence with his brand.

However, the name has since been changed to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation to honor Bryant’s daughter Gianna who also perished in the helicopter crash along with Bryant on January 26, 2020.

The Mamba Mentality Legacy

The world will undoubtedly miss Bryant, as he was taken from us far too soon at the age of 41, along with his daughter and seven other people whose loved ones will never be the same. However, Bryant will have a strong legacy that will far surpass the years in which he spent on Earth.

The strong brand he was able to build in his lifetime cemented the strength of his legacy. We can all aspire to be as inspiring as Bryant was with his Mamba Mentality. Kobe Bryant, nor Mamba Mentality will soon be forgotten.

We can only hope that the brands we build will be as meaningful.

Luke Zhang is the founder of Dunk or Three, a blog started out of a passion for basketball. Visit

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