Nike teamed up with basketball star Kobe Bryant for the end of the Mamba League’s first season and tournament game. The Mamba League aims to help young athletes through a basketball program for girls and boys 8- to 10-years-old, empowering them both on and off the court. Designed along with Nike and the Boys and Girls Club of L.A., the league invited kids from four under-served neighborhoods in the greater L.A. area to join in on the basketball fun.
“I’m really excited about building this league with my Nike family. Our line for the league is ‘play, learn, and grow,’” said Bryant. “This is really important to me, and reflects what I want to share with the kids about my own journey—that through playing the game of basketball I learned not just about the game, but about myself and others, and through that process you grow, as an athlete and as a person.”
The Mamba League began in February, serving kids across East and West L.A. who are basketball fans but might not have otherwise had an opportunity to play the game.
“The Mamba League is a fun league for kids to learn the game, have fun and understand the connection that the game has with life in general—hopefully learning some of the work ethic it takes to become a better basketball player and convert that into a being better son, a better daughter and a better student,” said Bryant.
Volunteer coaches, from both the Nike stores in L.A. and the area’s Boys and Girls Club staff, coached 288 players. The coaches went through thorough social-emotional and game fundamental training. In an effort to attract more girls, the league offers female coaches to lead girls-only teams. Girls make up 45 percent of program participants.
Bryant plans to continue his efforts with the Mamba League to bring the program to more places early next year based on community feedback.