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RIP Black Mamba: Here’s How Family, Friends and Nike Are Honoring Kobe For His Birthday

Kobe would have celebrated his 42nd birthday.

Natalia Bryant/Instagram

Sunday, August 23 commemorated Kobe Bryant’s first birthday since he tragically passed away in a helicopter accident alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. To commemorate Kobe’s legacy, Nike launched “Mamba Week,” in honor of his nickname “Black Mamba,” and his daughter (a basketball prodigy in her own right) who used the nickname, “Mambacita.” Nike will share products and programming in honor of Kobe this week, and has unveiled a powerful short video that commemorates his legacy

Aptly titled Better, Kendrick Lamar narrates the 90-second film, which cuts together footage from Kobe’s monumental career, plus images of his family. As well as being the title, Better is also the film’s theme, with Lamar saying, “Kobe taught us to be better,” and resonant soundbites from Kobe’s speeches, such as “do the simple stuff right,” and, sadly, his sign-off, “Mamba out.” 

Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant shared a tribute on his August 23rd birthday on Instagram, writing, “I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.” She added, “Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday,” as per CNN

His daughter Natalia Bryant also commemorated her father on Instagram, writing, “Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.” 

Nike will also be selling a limited amount of Kobe’s Lakers jersey and supporting the Mamba and Mamacita Sports Foundation, which helps support youth sports, with a $1 million donation, as per People

You can check out Nike’s short film below. RIP, Kobe.