Before Kobe Bryant’s death, he was one of the most recognizable sports athletes on the planet and the brand ambassador of Nike for decades.
During his legendary career, he was the face of the NBA and is most recognized for his logo and jersey numbers 8 and 24 while donning purple and gold.
Many sports fans tend to think that logos are for advertising purposes only. This is not the case. Each logo tells a story and represents many things.
I will take you through all of Kobe Bryant’s logos through the years to commemorate his lifelong passion and dedication to the sport.
What Is Kobe Bryant’s Logo?
What makes an emblem or a logo resonate well with people is the meaning and reason behind it. And every logo, whether from a company or a brand, has a unique meaning.
Kobe Bryant’s logo has a wonderful narrative to tell, and it is because he made it clear from the beginning what his intentions were.
According to Kobe, the iconic emblem represents a sheathed sword. The sword comprises six segments coming together to look like a sword and form the entire Kobe emblem. A sword represents various traits that relate well with him.
He first showcased his vision for the iconic emblem in an interview with Esquire Magazine which was originally published in May 2016. In the article, he shared that the logo stands for the coming together of raw talent and lessons learned along the way.
The creator of many of Kobe’s shoes, Eric Avar, said that the samurai warriors were the inspirations behind the emblem.
What’s The Meaning Behind It?
A sword generally represents courage, protection, and power. These are traits that define Kobe as a professional athlete.
In addition, he chose the Black Mamba alter-ego because of the movie Kill Bill.
In the movie, the enemy used a black mamba to kill another character. Kobe was impressed by how the black mamba striked the character accurately.
Afterwards, the black mamba’s ability to attack with precision and strike fear in his victims echoed with him.
Hence, the black mamba was born. Not only was the logo born but the “black mamba mentality” as well.
The History Of The Kobe Bryant Logo
Over the years, Kobe has had various iterations of logos that represented him.
From his time with Adidas to his time in Nike, his logo created a global buzz and has since been one of his sneakers’ most prominent traits.
1. The Frobe
Did you know that Kobe Bryant was the brand ambassador of Adidas before he went with Nike throughout his career?
When the Charlotte Hornets drafted him, he wasn’t given much thought coming out of high school. However, the Lakers still pursued him because he left a big impression during draft workouts.
He did not get much opportunity to shine during his rookie year. But this did not deter Adidas from signing up this 17-year-old boy who has yet to prove he belongs in the league.
The Frobe was most notable for the time when Kobe Bryant sported his afro hairstyle, and it was also the term used during his time with Adidas in 1996. It combines “Fro” in afro and “Be” from Kobe.
It was his first logo and sign that was used mostly on his signature shoes throughout his tenure with the Adidas brand.
During his time with Adidas, he established himself as one of the premier players in the NBA. He has led his team, winning multiple championships.
While it was a harmonious relationship donning the three stripes brand, everything changed for Kobe in 2003.
2. The Sheath Logo
The Sheath would become one of Kobe’s most popular logos ever to be created. During his partnership with Nike, the Sheath would be in almost all sneakers of Kobe Bryant.
However, during this time, his relationship with Shaq turned tumultuous. The following season would turn out to be the icing on the cake as Shaquille O’Neal was eventually traded to the Miami Heat.
The departure of Shaq meant that Kobe Bryant had the keys to this Los Angeles Lakers franchise and its future.
It is around this period when he also faced sexual allegations in court which led to most sports brands dropping their partnership with Kobe Bryant. However, Nike stuck with him in his ordeal until eventually building an empire together for almost 20 years.
After his difficulties, he went back to work and fine-tuned his game to become one of the best basketball players in the league. For several seasons the Sheath logo is mostly remembered for its association with Kill Bill Vol. 1 movie.
During this movie, Kobe liked the idea of the protagonist’s code name. After doing plenty of research, he realized the nickname suits him well, forever changing his perspective on the court and as a person.
He was not the 17-year-old kid anymore that Charlotte drafted; he was already a man amongst the boys. This personality change led to Nike riding with the Sheath and his popularity.
To capitalize on the fan adoration for Kobe, the brand made the Sheath the focal point of every Kobe Bryant sneaker. If you watched the movie Kill Bill, the Sheath logo is similar to Beatrix Kiddo’s samurai sword. He said that the sword represents his raw talent.
While the Sheath is traditionally used as an object protecting a sword, it was the beginning of good things for representing Kobe’s logo and Nike business. It had forever immortalized his eminence in the sport.
He continued to use the Sheath for his basketball-related endeavors even after retirement. You can see it in the video for his Mamba League:
3. The Hourglass
As Kobe Bryant was entering the twilight of his legendary career on the court, he immediately changed the trajectory of his post-retirement career by venturing into a new business in a different industry.
As a result, Kobe was led to the idea of having a different logo for his business. This resulted in the birth of the hourglass logo.
While his other emblem is seen as very symbolic, the hourglass is nondescript.
However if you look closely, this Kobe Bryant logo looks like the number 8 within the hourglass. 8 was the jersey number he used for ten years, winning three championships.
With his stake at Body Armor, he was well on his way to becoming a business and entertainment mogul. He even received an Academy Award for his short film named “Dear Basketball.”
The hourglass is Kobe’s last logo before his untimely passing due to a helicopter crash in 2020, along with his daughter Gigi Bryant. The basketball world is still mourning the loss of a great basketball player.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I’m sure you have questions about Kobe Bryant and his logos. I’ll do my best to answer most of them below:
Where Did Kobe Get the Black Mamba Logo From?
It was during 2003 when Kobe Bryant etched his case as the best basketball player on the planet. However, his situation took an unfortunate twist when he was charged with sexual assault.
Kobe explains that it was one of the darkest times during his career. He had created the new logo to organize things and cope with mental health issues as there were so many things coming his way at once.
In context, the black mamba is a fearsome snake that knows no fear when striking its opponents.
What Is Kobe’s Shoe Logo?
The Sheath logo has been Kobe Bryant’s symbol for most of his career and during his time in partnership while signed with the Nike brand.
One of the first basketball shoes where Nike showcased the Sheath logo was the Nike Huarache 2k5 sneakers. From then on, the emblem was used in all his sneakers until his passing.
Is Kobe the NBA Logo?
No, it is not Kobe Bryant on the NBA logo. While there are a lot of discussions on this topic, the man in the famous logo is in fact Jerry West, who played for the Lakers franchise for 14 seasons. The Kobe Bryant logo is not the logo of the NBA.
FUN FACT: Jerry West is the only NBA basketball player to win the finals MVP award from the losing team.
Kobe’s legacy will never be in question in the history of basketball. He put his heart and mind into the game of basketball for almost all of his life.
Fortunately, his logos and symbols have immortalized his name in the sport as Nike is still designing his Kobe shoes with his symbol on them.
Other great athletes worldwide also have their own logos, such as Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Having a logo signals that one has risen through the ranks of popularity. Kobe firmly established himself as a powerful brand when he signed with Nike.