Kobe Bryant Creates a ‘Mamba League’ for LA Youth
Kobe celebrates his 1-year post retirement with the kids.
It’s been exactly one year since Kobe Bryant’s epic final game with the Lakers, and since retiring from the NBA, he’s been focused on teaching the game to a new generation of players. In partnership with Nike, Bryant created the Mamba League, a youth basketball program for boys and girls ages 8-10 that began in February and was made available to children in four underserved communities in Los Angeles.
“I’m really excited about building this league with my Nike family. Our line for the league is ‘play, learn, and grow.’ This is really important to me, and reflects what I want to share with the kids about my own journey—that through playing the game of basketball I learned not just about the game, but about myself and others, and through that process you grow, as an athlete and as a person,” Bryant said about his passion for creating the league.
Designed in partnership with Nike and the Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles – the league kicked off registration on Feb. 1, inviting kids from four main neighborhoods with under-served communities in the greater Los Angeles area–Nickerson Gardens, Whittier, West San Gabriel Valley/Monterey Park and Venice–to join the experience. The Mamba League is comprised of 40 coaches who are volunteers from Nike stores in the Los Angeles area and Boys and Girls Club staff, and 288 players. Coaches participated in a comprehensive training clinic that was equal parts game fundamentals as well as social-emotional training to make sure every player has a positive experience. To align with the league’s encouragement of young girls to participate, it brings on female coaches to lead its girls-only teams.
On April 15, the Mamba League will celebrate the end of its first eight-week season with a basketball tournament challenge, where one girls’ team and one boys’ team will go home with a victory, but all of the players will leave the inaugural year of the league as winners. Kobe will continue to work with Nike to expand the Mamba League to more sites in early 2018 based on learnings from the first year and feedback from the community.
Photograph via The Score