Sports academy Kobe helped found will retire 'Mamba' from name
MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty

The Southern California sports academy that Kobe Bryant helped launch in 2018 will remove "Mamba" from its name.

"Our beliefs and thoughts are: Kobe is one of one. 'Mamba' is one of one," Mamba Sports Academy co-founder and CEO Chad Faulkner told ESPN's Marc J. Spears.

"And with that as we carry on as The Sports Academy, it's more appropriate to put Kobe in another Hall of Fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do. We were fortunate to learn from Kobe. We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

Bryant was on his way to the academy in Ventura County for a youth basketball game on Jan. 26 when the helicopter carrying him, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people crashed. All were killed.

The academy operates two locations in Southern California, both of which are presently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Faulkner said he would be "all for" a memorial to Bryant at both locations, but it depends on the wishes of his family.

"That will really end up being up to the desires of the family and to the respect of the family," he said. "For us, we leave that up to the future. This is such a critical time for the family to keep working through the grieving process and everything they're working for ... but it's really not necessarily the right thing for us to do proactively."

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Sports academy Kobe helped found will retire 'Mamba' from name
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