Fans are threatening to remove their support for the Mamba Sports Academy after it announced via its Instagram page that it would be removing “Mamba” from its name forever.
The CEO of the academy said the youth sports training business’ decision to remove Mamba is actually to honor the late legend, Kobe Bryant’s memory.
“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,” Sports Academy CEO Chad Faulkner said in a statement.
This decision did not go over well with fans, who took to the comment sections of their posts to voice their anger and confusion. This prompted the Sports Academy Instagram page to turn off the comments for most of their posts, but we were able to capture a few comments from fans before that happened.
“Totally unfollowing. Why would you change the name?! You would think you would keep the name in his honor. How sad,” one person wrote.
“Y’all lying to the public. Changing the name wasn’t for ‘respect,’ that was strictly a business move…respect his name!!” another wrote.
To give you some background, Kobe partnered with The Sports Academy in 2018, which led to the name change. The academy was actually founded in 2016.
People are understandably upset given that Kobe dedicated a lot of his time to the academy and was traveling to its Thousand Oaks facility with his daughter Gianna and seven others when their helicopter crashed on January 26th.
Faulkner spoke further on his decision to ESPN’s The Undefeated saying, “Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. ‘Mamba’ is one of one. And with that as we carry on as The Sports Academy, it’s more appropriate to put Kobe in another Hall of Fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do.”
On Tuesday, The Sports Academy had already changed its website to reflect its new name — and says it will make changes to signage at its buildings in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach, according to TMZ.
It’s unclear if all the backlash the academy is receiving will change its mind, but in an updated statement, the academy said, “The changing of the name from Mamba Sports Academy to Sports Academy, the original name from 2016, is not a decision we came to lightly or on our own. It was a mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of his estate. Thank you for respecting that decision in these turbulent times.”
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