Kentucky wildcats

Kentucky basketball players receive Kobe Mambacita 4 shoes after partnering with Vanessa Bryant

The Kentucky players each received a pair of the Kobe Bryant-inspired sneakers.

In exchange for working with Vanessa Bryant and Mambacita Sports for camps, each Kentucky basketball player receives a pair of Mambacita Kobe 4 sneakers. The sneakers bear the name of Bryant’s daughter Gianna “Gigi,” who perished in the same 2020 helicopter disaster as her husband, NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.Bryant was known as the “Black Mamba,” thus Gianna was called “Mambacita.” Seeing Bryant’s influence and reputation among younger players who looked up to him as a player and icon of the game is always fascinating.

From 1996 until 2016, Bryant was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he participated in 18 All-Star games and won five NBA titles. In two consecutive seasons, 2005–06 and 2006–07, he topped the league in scoring with 35.4 and 31.6 points per game, respectively. He finished with 33,643 points, averaging 25 points per game.

Bryant was selected to the NBA All-Defensive first team nine times in his nine seasons as an NBA first-team member. He also twice led the league in scoring. In 2008, Bryant’s 57-win Lakers team averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. This performance earned him one win for the NBA MVP Award.

Kentucky posted video of the players receiving the shoes on Twitter.

Thanks to Vanessa Bryant and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation for a great surprise for our team!! #PlayGigisWay #MambaForever

— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 5, 2023

The Wildcats have one of the most intriguing rosters in college basketball heading into 2023-24. Kentucky landed the nation’s best recruiting class, one that yielded three of 247Sports’ top six players in Justin Edwards (No. 3), DJ Wagner (No. 6), and Aaron Bradshaw (No. 5). Bradshaw at center, Edwards at small forward, and Wagner at combo guard were the top-ranked players in the class at each position. Robert Dillingham, a point guard, finished barely outside the five-star category at No. 20 overall, while Jeff Sheppard’s son, Reed Sheppard, placed No. 75 in the class.

The primary concern is experience, which is mitigated by the signing of West Virginia transfer center Tre Mitchell and enhanced by the return of Antonio Reeves. Kentucky is the kind of team that may be a lot better in March than it is at the beginning of the season if Bradshaw can recover from his foot ailment.

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