Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game Wednesday night has brought an explosion of social media comment, often with #MambaDay.

Kobe Bryant. Photo by Michael Wa via Wikimedia Commons
But why does the Lakers great call himself the Black Mamba?

As Lakers Nation reported in 2014, “After the sexual assault allegations back in 2003, Kobe Bryant adopted the nickname/alter ego, Black Mamba, as a way of coping with the ordeal that almost derailed his career as a superstar in the NBA. Kobe recently gave Ben McGrath of The New Yorker an insight on his popular nickname. Kobe says that he got the idea for the nickname from Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill.”

Bryant, aging like a fine wine, has also adopted the nickname Vino.

By whatever name, Bryant will be missed by millions, as a sampling of notes posted Wednesday indicates.

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