Nike creates moving tribute to Kobe Bryant

Ad aired ahead of basketball star's memorial service.


Nike paid tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant in a stripped-back ad that launched on the day of his memorial service. 

"Mamba forever", created by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, gets its name from Bryant’s alter ego. The athlete adopted the nickname Black Mamba – after an assassin in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill – in 2003 when he faced sexual assault allegations. 

Bryant died in a helicopter crash in southern California on 26 January, along with eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. A memorial service for Bryant and Gianna was held in Los Angeles on Monday (24 February) and drew thousands of attendees. 

Nike’s two-minute film comprises white text against a black backdrop. The word "forever" stays on screen throughout, while media coverage spanning Bryant’s life and career play in the background. It ends with the sound of a crowd repeatedly cheering "Kobe" as the yellow text "Mamba" appears on screen and joins the word "forever". 

The brand said in a statement: "‘Mamba forever' pays tribute to beloved member of the Nike family, Kobe Bryant. One of the greatest athletes of his generation, Bryant had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball."

The work was created by Guilherme Souza and Emma Barnett.

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