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‘Embrace the Mamba Mentality’ at Neumann University spells out the tenacity, philosophy of Kobe Bryant

Mourners gather near the Staples Center Jan. 27, 2020, to pay respects to former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant after he, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others were killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. (CNS photo/Kyle Grillot, Reuters)

Maybe you know “Mamba,” but do you really know Mamba?

Retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. The two Catholics are pictured during a game in Las Vegas July 27, 2020. (CNS photo/Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

This fall Neumann University will offer its students the ability to dive deeper into the “Mamba Mentality” mindset created by the late Kobe Bryant and how his philosophy can be applied outside the world of sports.

Caleb Mezzy, a sports management professor at Neumann University will teach the course entitled “Embrace the Mamba Mentality” with the expectation to challenge students in a new way. Only a few years younger than Bryant, Mezzy spent much of his life following Bryant’s tenacity and philosophy.

Looking at today’s times, Mezzy said “there’s a great need to provide students with knowledge suitable for post-college.”

Many idolize Bryant for the drive and passion he had for basketball and all the achievements that came with it; however, basketball was not all that he left behind. Before Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, he mentored those young and old on and off the court. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in the crash. For Bryant, living a life centered on perseverance, hard work, and trusting the process over everything else is what the “Mamba Mentality” came to be.

Wanting to steer young students in the right direction much like Bryant did, Mezzy plans to “take bits and pieces of Kobe’s life and what made him great and apply it to real life as an aid for students to push themselves further.”

Caleb Mezzy

Rather than focus on Bryant’s basketball career, watch film and highlight reels, Mezzy explained how this class will shy away from the usual class assignments but tap into students creative sides by listening to Bryant’s podcast “The Punies” – and read Bryant’s book on mamba mentality which will be accompanied by weekly discussions, healthy debates, and a few class projects that require students to think outside of the box.

“Embrace the Mamba Mentality” will offer students the opportunity to learn and explore within themselves, spark creativity and curiosity, and give some students the push they might be needing.

Matthew Porreca, a junior at Neumann, is thrilled about the new course designed by Mezzy and said his familiarity with the instructor was a big draw.

“I see a lot of Kobe’s attitude in Mezzy,” said Porreca. “He’s become someone that I can look up to.”

At the core of the university are its RISES values upheld among faculty members, staff, and students. “Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Stewardship” are modeled throughout campus. In continuation with the other courses offered at Neumann, “Embrace the Mamba Mentality” too aims to demonstrate pieces of the RISES values.

Students will practice reverence throughout the semester by honoring and respecting Bryant’s legacy, experience integrity by being challenged in new ways, complete service through some of their assignments, learn how to be excellent in their own life, and exhibit stewardship into their professions.

“I think a lot of what Mamba Mentality is has to do with integrity,” said Mezzy.

Whether you are a sports management major or not, Mezzy is welcoming students of all majors and grade levels to take this course aware of what it has to offer.

“I would love to get freshman in this class because they can only go up from there,” said Mezzy.

As of early August, the course currently had 12 students registered, mostly juniors and seniors.