Los Angeles Lakers: Nike’s latest Kobe Bryant ad captures key part of his legacy

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

A beautifully crafted commercial released by Nike is the latest way Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant has been remembered.

For nearly the last seven months, a plethora of people have honored the late great Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in some way, shape, or form. Whether the tributes were executed by making it out to Staples Center, painting a mural of him, writing a piece about him, and so on, they came pouring in following the tragic accident in late January.

Based on the various tributes, one thing is crystal clear. Kobe Bryant touched so many lives during his time here on Earth – more than anyone will ever be able to count.

Additionally, one can argue that another thing has become easy to decipher in the aftermath of Kobe’s death. Bryant carried a certain aura that transcended the game of basketball. Certainly, his impact on the game we love speaks for itself, but the way he lived his life made him stand out from the crowd.

The legendary shooting guard was essentially the equivalent of an extraterrestrial being when it came to his level of preparation. For example, as Bryant got older, his athleticism naturally faded, and fans did not see quite as many electrifying dunks as they once did. However, he adapted his game and still located alternatives to keep his opponents on their tiptoes.

Later in his illustrious career, Bryant relied more heavily on elements such as his footwork and still managed to dazzle. He was such a creative force and did not merely depend on off the dribble sequences to get buckets. This is one key reason that made the Laker great so special.

Kobe was like a master tinkerer in a sense, constantly in search mode. He was always on a quest to improve his craft and be the best possible rendition of himself.

In the juvenile stages of his career, the man was already renowned as it was for how inquisitive he was. Bryant relentlessly sought out knowledge from NBA legends like Michael Jordan and was not timid with respect to asking questions. He was determined to learn and use the pearls of wisdom he gained to his advantage.

Thus, while he may have made certain adjustments over the course of time, the mental side of things never wavered. The Black Mamba possessed an unquenchable thirst for wanting to get better and give it everything he got. He was simply that kind of guy.

Sure, in the minds of some, it might sound maniacal. Perhaps so, indeed, but it is what separated the five-time champion from everyone else. Bryant was never complacent as far as his disposition was concerned, and the results typically followed suit.

His obsessive mindset is what made a recent Nike commercial narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar so incredibly fitting. Earlier this week, Mamba Day (8/24) was celebrated in honor of the Lower Merion High School product.

In an effort to commemorate the Los Angeles legend, the big-time corporation released an ad entitled “Better: Mamba Forever.” Suffice to say, the message evoked in the commercial is quite Kobe-esque and serves as a reminder to us all to never settle for less in any endeavor life presents.

Nike’s perfect ad to honor Kobe Bryant:

James Dator of SB Nation also shared the clip and reflected on its meaning in the process. In Dator’s mind, the Nike ad persuades its viewers “to apply Kobe’s commitment to excellence to everything.”

Frankly, it is hard to disagree with his assessment. Bryant pushed himself to extremes that no ordinary individual would even dare think of. For instance, he would consistently put in work in the gym when others were sleeping. By virtue of that routine, it better ensured that his body was in the best possible condition when it really mattered.

In essence, the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer was always doing things behind the scenes to get that edge on his opponent. He sacrificed getting beauty sleep time and time again because that is how badly he wanted to be great. Not just good, but great. Kobe Bean was that disciplined and by working when others were not, he was, therefore, a step ahead of his peers.

For him, working to ridiculous extents was not an option. Most folks set aside portions of his or her day putting in the work, but then turn the switch to sleep mode or some other unrelated task. Kobe was cut from a different cloth for the reason that the switch never seemed to go into an off mode.

A variety of other tributes spewed forth on Monday and the Lakers certainly did their part on Mamba Day in remembrance of the all-time great. Each Laker donned a Black Mamba City Edition jersey, which featured a hard-to-miss snakeskin pattern. Additionally, the jerseys sported a No. 2 enclosed within a heart on the right shoulder for his daughter, Gianna, who was also involved in the tragic incident.

The Nike commercial was definitely among the cream of the crop, though, as far as ways Kobe was honored. The sheer repetition of the term “better” is certainly a wake-up call to everyone to be a little more like Kobe.

The athlete practically lived by that motto expressed in the Nike commercial. In his words, it perfectly coincides with the self-made axiom “Mamba Mentality.”

Bryant was a freak of nature with regard to his attention to detail, and in doing so, it led to successes that are nearly second to none. Was it an ordinary way of going about life? Not even one bit, but Kobe never wanted to be this average joe – he aimed to be extra­ordinary.

Indubitably, Kobe’s specific talents were beyond rare. He was one in a trillion in that regard.

Despite that being true, he expected those alongside him to bring a high level of passion and effort to any task at hand. In his eyes, there was no reason that a teammate or anyone around him, period, could not bring maximum effort to the table.

That is the crux of what the Nike commercial entails and is a crucial life lesson we can extract from the life of Kobe Bryant. Alas, the all-time great is no longer with us, but his spirit continues to live on.

Assuming even just a few souls put in the extra work to become better at something, it could very well lead to a chain reaction. It would accordingly lead to a better world as well, a world that is in shambles nowadays.

Without a doubt, Kobe Bryant would not be pleased with anything less and arguably the best way to carry on his otherworldly legacy is to abide by his trademark “Mamba Mentality” principle. Strive to become better in some capacity and then work towards making it a habit.

In the words of Nike, I implore anyone who has followed along thus far to “just do it.” It is not necessarily the easy road, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. It sheds light on what made Kobe such a treasure around the world and is why he will never be forgotten.

Next. Three lessons in Game 4 win. dark

Being “better” and embodying what “Mamba Mentality” encapsulated was a day in and day out thing for Bryant. Granted he is not here physically anymore, if we aim to do the same through our actions, the glimmering light he left behind will never flicker out.