Kobe is nuts.
From Bill Simmons:
An actual excerpt from Ric Bucher's ESPN The Mag cover story about Kobe and Phil (and no, I'm not making this up):
"Granted, there's still a dark side that Bryant embraces. He's known in his inner circle as Mamba, which, he is happy to explain, is a kind of snake that can grow to 13 feet and is one of the world's quickest, and one of the most venomous, serpents. He referred to this summer as the 'blackout,' in which the snake grew a new skin through a seven-days-a-week conditioning program."
Wait, there's more!
Here's Kobe explaining his new nickname: "The mamba can strike with 99 percent accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession. That's the kind of basketball precision I want to have. Not being able to train the last two summers, I was in a gunfight with a rusty butter knife. I did my share of killing, but I was just fighting to survive."
All right ...
First of all, I love when any celebrity gives himself a new nickname to change his identity. It's funny when wrestlers change gimmicks and end up with a new nickname, it's funny when Diddy changes nicknames, and it's downright hysterical when an NBA star once accused of sexual assault decides it would be a fantastic idea to embrace the identity of a 13-foot serpent. Second, when they explain the choice of the nickname with a beauty like, "The mamba can strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession," and refuse to credit "Kill Bill," it reminds me why I still love writing this column. And third, I don't think this nickname is catching on, since I have been delightedly telling everyone I know about the Mamba story, and nobody has heard of it, so I'm calling Kobe "Mamba" in this space from this point forward. Long live Mamba.