Lakers News: UConn, USC, Kentucky, Oregon, Duke & LSU Named As First Nike Kobe Bryant Mamba Programs
Lakers Kobe Bryant Gianna Bryant
Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

It was recently announced that the University of Kentucky had been selected as the first ever ‘Mamba Program’ ahead of the 2023-24 college basketball season. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had developed a close relationship with Kentucky coach John Calipari and Vanessa Bryant handpicked the Wildcats to be the first choice.

Much like Michael Jordan’s Jumpman brand has grown throughout sports, even being the featured logo on NBA jerseys now, Nike is hoping to do the same with the Mamba brand. And even after that first announcement, it was known that more schools would be part of the Mamba Program.

Those schools are now known as Nike and Vanessa Bryant announced that the University of Connecticut, USC, Duke University, Oregon University and LSU will join Kentucky as the Mamba Programs for this upcoming season, via Nick DePaula of ESPN:

Many of these schools were pretty obvious choices considering their relationship with Kobe. Duke University where Coach Mike Krzyzewski once presided makes sense as the Lakers legend was extremely close with him. Additionally, UConn was the desired school of choice and favorite team of Gigi Bryant so their inclusion also makes a lot of sense. USC, being a local Southern California school also will be pretty cool to see Bronny James, son of Lakers star LeBron James, suiting up with a Mamba patch on his uniform.

The Mamba and Mambacita Sports foundation continues to carry on the legacy of both Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Vanessa has done an outstanding job of ensuring Kobe’s name and legacy continue and these schools will be the first of many to adorn the Mamba patch in the coming years.

Wood signs two-year contract with Lakers

Meanwhile, as training camp inches closer for the Lakers, they still had some work to do to fill out their roster.

Needing one more big man, the Lakers have been pursuing Christian Wood for a while now and finally landed him when it was reported on Tuesday night that he is signing a two-year contract with the second year being a player option.

With the addition of Wood to complete their offseason, the Lakers are again expected to be title contenders in 2023-24.

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