In honor of what would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday, Nike released a tribute to the late NBA star.
The video, titled “Better" and narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar, illustrated Bryant’s dedication on and off the court. Throughout the 90-second montage, viewers get a glimpse at several throwback family photos and a touching clip of Bryant playing with one of his daughters as a toddler, seemingly after a game.
In addition to the intimate family moments, the montage included highlights from Bryant's career, footage of other prolific athletes, as well as clips from the recent George Floyd protests.
“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar said to start the video. “Better dreamer. Better waker. Better stretcher. Better walker. Better talker. Better walking the walk and talking the talk. Better blocker. Better sprinter. Better loser. Better winner. Just be better.”
He continued: “Better form. Focus. Better friend. Better fighter. Better riding. Better eater. Better leader. Better generation. Better nation. Just be better. Can you do that?”
The tribute ends with a clip of Bryant saying “Mamba out,” while the crowd chants his name, and it fades into the message “Mamba forever.”
“Kobe Bryant was famous for his work ethic, and his commitment to improving every element of his game inspired athletes around the world, on and off the court,” a statement on Nike’s website read. “This relentless drive for improvement is celebrated in a new Nike film commemorating Mamba Mentality, Better.”
Nike also shared the video on their Instagram page, captioning the post, “Kobe taught us to be better. A better scorer, better mentor, better father, better champion. Today, on his birthday, we continue his endless pursuit of better.“
On Sunday, Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, also shared a tribute to her late husband on his birthday.
Alongside an old photo of the couple dressed in black tie, the mother of four wrote: "Our lives feel so empty without you ... I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them."
Bryant's friend and former teammate Pau Gasol, who's stayed close with Bryant's family in the seven months since his death, posted his condolences and Nike's video, as well.
"Happy birthday brother," the six-time All-Star tweeted. "Kobe taught us to be better. A better scorer, better mentor, better father, better champion. Today, on his birthday, we continue his endless pursuit of better. #MambaMentality."
Bryant died in a helicopter accident on January 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.