Kobe Bryant called time on his illustrious career in 2016 after 20 hugely successful years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 39-year-old won five championships with the Purple and Gold and scooped up various individual honours such as an MVP award, two Finals MVPs, and 18 All-Star appearances.
He is a future Hall of Famer and will go down as one of the greatest players in the league's history.
During his remarkable 20 years in the NBA, Kobe's play on the court saw him take on many nicknames.
But of the many he's received, none have stuck like 'The Black Mamba'. It has become an iconic nickname and other players have also adopted various versions of it over the years.
In a recent interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Award Chatter podcast, Bryant shed some light on the real meaning behind it and why he took it on.
“I felt the need to separate myself, in a sense," he said. "There was a lot of things going on personally with the situation going on in Colorado, and flying back and forth for games, and trying to hold my family together, as well.
"It just felt like the game, which was always like a safe haven for me, was being compromised, as well. I needed to create some sort of an alter ego, just for myself, so when I step out on the court I’m somebody different, not the person that was sitting in a courthouse.
"I’m somebody different. And it helped me for my sanity. And then it just turned into something more.”
The Lakers legend's sexual assault case was well-documented in 2003 but he overcame the controversy and was able to save both his family and basketball career.
The 11-time All-NBA guard is looking to move into storytelling in this next phase of his career and has certainly been through enough both on and off the court to serve as an example to the future generation.
He is an all-time great and dedicated himself to basketball on a daily basis in order to try and become the best player the game has ever seen.
During the interview, Kobe also revealed his biggest regret from his playing career.
“Probably the amount of time spent on my craft and spent away from my family,” he said.
But in doing so, Bryant earned millions of fans around the world and served as an inspiration to many of the players currently in the NBA.News Now - Sport News