Kobe Bryant and Nike Inspire Kids in Los Angeles to Get Moving

The Mamba League empowers kids through basketball fundamentals

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To give young athletes in Los Angeles an opportunity to understand the
game as he learned it, Kobe Bryant created the Mamba League, a youth
basketball program rooted in personal insights with the goal of
empowering girls and boys ages 8-10 on the court and in life.

“I’m really excited about building this league with my Nike family. Our
line for the league is ‘play, learn, and grow.’ 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,” Bryant said about his passion
for creating the league.

The Mamba League began in February and is reaching underserved youth
across East and West Los Angeles who love the game but may not have had
an opportunity to play it. The League focuses on helping players truly
understand the fundamentals of the game while increasing their overall
self-confidence and fueling their potential.

“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.

Designed in partnership with Nike and the Boys and Girls Club in Los
Angeles—the league kicked off registration on Feb. 1, inviting kids from
four main neighborhoods with under-served communities in the greater Los
Angeles area—Nickerson Gardens, Whittier, West San Gabriel
Valley/Monterey Park and Venice—to join the experience.

The Mamba League is comprised of 40 coaches who are volunteers from Nike
stores in the Los Angeles area and Boys and Girls Club staff, and 288
players. Coaches participated in a comprehensive training clinic that
was equal parts game fundamentals as well as social-emotional training
to make sure every player has a positive experience. To align with the
league’s encouragement of young girls to participate, it brings on
female coaches to lead its girls-only teams.

“I’m usually the only girl playing with all the boys…so I got excited
to play with other girls,” said Noelle Romero, 8, of the Lil Cheetahs,
who defeated the Lil Swooshes at a game in March. “The more that we
play, the more that we get to learn different type of skills, not just
in basketball, but that could help us with other things.”

By the end of the Mamba League, all players were inspired by teamwork
and exposed to a new passion for the sport–including the young girls who
made up 45 percent of participants.

“Sport is a way where kids can find not only an escape, but a potential
future,” said Mamba League Coach Ashley Indick. “The Mamba League is a
good platform to expose them to that.”

On April 15, the Mamba League will celebrate the end of its first
eight-week season with a basketball tournament challenge, where one
girls’ team and one boys’ team will go home with a victory, but all of
the players will leave the inaugural year of the league as winners.

Kobe will continue to work with Nike to expand the Mamba League to more
sites in early 2018 based on learnings from the first year and feedback
from the community.

Learn more about
why Kobe wanted to start the league
and how his insights about
learning the fundamentals of basketball are changing the game for
coaches and kids (8-10) across four LA neighborhoods.

About Nike Global Community Impact

Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world and unleash human
potential. However, the world is moving less and less, and
today’s generation of children is the least physically active ever.
That’s why Nike works to get kids active early and for life, because
active kids are happier, healthier and more successful. Together with
its employees, partners, consumers and athletes, Nike also supports
important causes that strengthen communities across the globe. Learn more.

About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Ore., is the world’s leading designer,
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Grace Chang, 310-736-3781