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Kendrick Lamar Salutes Kobe Bryant in Powerful Nike Ad

Kendrick Lamar Salutes Kobe Bryant in Powerful Nike Ad

(Photo by Mark Davis via Getty Images)

“Kobe taught us to be better.”

Kendrick Lamar broke a years-long silence to honor the late Kobe Bryant in an inspiring new Nike ad.

Released this morning in commemoration of what would have been the Lakers guard’s 42nd birthday, the spot opens with archival footage of a young Kobe’s first games in the NBA, shifting between glimpses from his high school career and observing his father’s games from the sideline. Lamar’s impassioned rasp narrates, mounting with intensity as frames of acclaimed and fledgling athletes pass.

The tribute kicks off Nike’s “Mamba Week,” in which they’ve pledged to salute not just Kobe, the exceptional athlete and fierce competitor, but the values he stood for on and off the court; calling for unity and tolerance, celebrating creativity and ingenuity.   According to AdWeek, Nike will be offering programming and product drops throughout the week. Launching the programming side of the commemoration, New York Liberty star, Sabrina Ionescu, and WNBA vet Lisa Leslie (both of which appear in the ad,) will discuss “Mamba Mentality” and Bryant’s efforts to grow youth sports in a Youtube Live session. Other events will be announced in the upcoming week. Nike has also pledged $1 million to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which is focused on providing equal access to sports programs in underserved communities, especially for girls.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were killed along with the pilot and six others in a tragic helicopter crash just outside of Los Angeles on January 26th. Throughout the season, both in and outside of the bubble, the tributes have been, and will likely remain, constant.

Watch Kendrick Lamar narrate a powerful tribute to Kobe Bryant above.

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