Nike has declared April 13 — the day of Kobe Bryant’s final game — Black Mamba Day. In honor of Bryant, some of Nike’s other top athletes are sharing their thoughts on the retiring Los Angeles Lakers star.
The brand asked athletes including Kyrie Irving, Russell Wilson, Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Elena Delle Donne and Kevin Durant what comes to mind when they think of “Black Mamba” (the name of Bryant’s alter ego).
The list included words such as “killer instinct,” “dominating,” “aggressive,” “tenacious,” “unstoppable,” “clutch,” “leader” and “winner.”
“He’s always trying to take your heart out, man,” said James. “You gotta be ready for that.”
“If you’re not cheering for him, you’re going to have to hate him because he’s killing your team,” said Delle Donne.
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Williams said that Bryant always played because he loved the sport, not for any other reason.
Bryant’s former coach Phil Jackson thinks Bryant “relishes being vilified by fans of the other team.” Tiger Woods agreed, saying, “In 29 other arenas, he’s hated.”
Durant was honest, telling Nike that Bryant “pissed him off a lot.”
Fans can chime in using the Mamba Day Generator, which overlays the user’s selected farewell message on a photo and can be used on social media.
After 20 years in the NBA and five championships, Bryant will play his final game on Wednesday at home against the Utah Jazz.
Watch the video below.