Fans are really not happy with The Sports Academy’s decision to remove ‘Mamba’ from their name.
On Tuesday, the academy made the announcement that they would be changing their name back to their original title from 2016, The Sports Academy. They first changed it to Mamba Sports Academy in 2018 when Kobe Bryant entered a partnership with them.
The youth sports training business issued a statement on Twitter, letting everyone know they would be “honoring” the late Lakers legend by removing his name from their branding.
“Today, with respect for an unparalleled legacy, the Academy will retire the ‘Mamba’ in the Mamba Sports Academy name–to raise it to the rafters, where it belongs,” the statement reads. “In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership.”
Immediately, this move rubbed fans the wrong way, because…that doesn’t make any sense. If you want to honor somebody, removing their name from what they worked so hard on is probably the last thing you should do.
Many of Kobe’s biggest supporters flocked to the comments to show their disapproval, including O’Shea Jackson Jr., who said, “I’m sorry. I can’t support this.”
Because of all the backlash they received, The Sports Academy followed this up with another statement, this time adding that Bryant’s family was involved in the decision.
“The changing of the name from Mamba Sports Academy to Sports Academy, the original name from 2016, is not a decision we came to lightly or on our own. It was a mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of his estate. Thank you for respecting that decision in these turbulent times.”
While this follow-up tries to imply that Kobe’s estate requested “Mamba” be removed from the name, if that was the case, they probably would have just said so. The “mutual agreement” reached here probably has something to do with money, since Kobe’s company, Kobe Inc., owns trademarks for all of the Mamba Sports Academy facilities, logos, etc.
To continue using the name, The Sports Academy would have to pay up, and it seems like they simply weren’t willing to. Unfortunately for them, trying to spin the move like they were honoring Kobe didn’t work out too well.
Now, fans are vowing not to support the Academy unless they hear otherwise from Vanessa Bryant.