On Tuesday, the Mamba Sports Academy announced that the institution is changing its name. Going forward, the school will just be named the Sports Academy out of respect for Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
"Like tens of millions of fans around the globe, Sports Academy's world drastically changed on January 26, 2020," the academy said in a statement. "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. In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership."
In 2018, Bryant and Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner founded the Mamba Sports Academy. The school has locations in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.
Faulkner previously told The Undefeated that he wants to have memorials to honor Bryant at both of the Sports Academy's locations if the Bryant family gives him their blessing.
"That will really end up being up to the desires of the family and to the respect of the family," Faulkner 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. We are going to play really conservative from that approach. We are all for it. ... But it's really not necessarily the right thing for us to do proactively."
Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna, and seven others tragically died on Jan. 26 when their helicopter crashed into a Calabasas, California hillside. The group was on their way to the Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a youth basketball game.
The victims were honored at a memorial service at the Staples Center in late February.
Bryant was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month. In addition, Gianna was honored as an honorary draft pick at the 2020 WNBA Draft.