Barrett wants to retire ‘Maple Mamba’ nickname after Kobe Bryant’s death

The Toronto Raptors had a video tribute and 24 seconds of silence for Kobe Bryant before their game against the Atlanta Hawks.

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett wants to retire the nickname ‘Maple Mamba.’

In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic passing in a helicopter crash that also killed his daughter Gianna and seven other people, the Canadian told reporters that he doesn’t want to perpetuate the comparison to the Los Angeles Lakers legend, who was widely known in the basketball world as the Black Mamba.

“I don’t want to get called that anymore,” Barrett said on Tuesday, according to Newsday‘s Steve Popper. “Somebody great like that, to lose him in that way is really sad. Even to this day you just think about it and it keeps replaying in my mind. It’s tough.”

Barrett first received the nickname when he was playing at Duke, as his on-court style and off-court poise seemed to emulate the high-energy, high-intellect persona for which Bryant was know in his playing days. ‘Maple Mamba’ paid homage both to Bryant and the Toronto native’s home country.

“People called me Maple Mamba,” he said in January of last year. “I love that nickname.”​

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