Photo via Counter Kicks
The black mamba snake, native to sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the quickest and most venomous snakes in the world.
It is also brash, eating prey much too big for it—such as a lion.
In many ways, Kobe Bryant's game on the court was similar.
During his 20-year NBA career, Bryant backed down from nobody. His confidence never wavered, allowing him to live in attack mode.
He relied on speed and deadly accuracy to do things like drop 81 points in a single game.
The result was five NBA championships, 18 All-Star selections and a boatload of other amazing accomplishments.
In his documentary Muse, Bryant revealed he created "The Black Mamba" moniker in 2003 as a way to escape the turmoil that was beginning to engulf him on and off the court.
"I had all this pent-up frustration that I just needed to let out. It was an avalanche, man. There was nothing that was going to get in the way," Bryant said.
Bryant's legacy lives on in the NBA, as stars like Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum have referred to having a "Mamba Mentality" on the court.