Why is Kobe Bryant the “Black Mamba”?
The black mamba is one of the most fearsome creatures in Africa not only because of its reputation for aggression, speed, and venom toxicity, but because of the legends that go from generation to generation. Kobe Bryant shares many traits with the black mamba, such as a propensity to stand his ground when cornered and the odds are against him, displaying fearsome tenacity and explosive aggression, all while hissing loudly and striking (in the basketball sense) repeatedly.
However, it is not their physical traits that make their enemies fearful when confronting them. It is the legends behind the name that causes the fear and respect from others. Kobe Bryant built his legend through his performances against dangerous enemies.
An early moment that was key to growing the legend came in a Dec. 6, 2000 game against the Golden State Warriors and Antawn Jamison. It was Bryant’s first 50-point game. The young guard when tit-for-tat with Jamison with each player scoring 51 points, and even though the Lakers ended up losing the game, the Lakers' young star showed the Black Mamba was about to raise his game to a whole new level.
Just as a black mamba can strike adversaries without warning, on Nov. 12, 2004, Kobe Bryant showed he could dunk without warning against a dominant defensive center like Dwight Howard. On Jan. 22, 2006 Kobe Bryant showed he was the deadliest player in any sport when he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. He made his foes look like rec-league players, just as the black mamba makes lions look like kittens.
Due to various factors, including the toxicity and high yield of its venom, the fact that untreated bites have a mortality rate of 100 percent, its high level of aggression, speed and agility, many experts agree the black mamba is the deadliest and most aggressive animal in the world. Is Kobe Bryant the “Black Mamba” of the NBA?
On Dec. 20, 2005, the Mavericks found it's an apt comparison. At the end of three quarters, it was Kobe Bryant 62, the entire Dallas team 61.
You can follow Octavio Raygoza on Twitter at @olraygoza.