11 Lessons from the Master
Kobe Bryant's Last Season
Before Kobe Bryant laced them up for his final season in the NBA, Nike came to us with a question - how do you pay tribute to a career that will live on forever?
Our concept had to reach his biggest fans, harshest critics, and most importantly, the kid wanting to be the next Kobe. We needed to build a companion experience on Nike.com/kobe that would inspire today’s up-and-coming ballers — and sell a lot of shoes. So we tapped into Kobe’s genius, unearthed unheard stories, and talked to his closest confidants to bring to light the truest version of Kobe — one few had ever seen.
We wondered, as the eternal student of the game now at the end of his career, what would it look like for Kobe to finally step into the role of the master? How would he share his profound wisdom with the next generation looking to follow in his foot steps?
The lessons were shaped around the Kobe XI sneakers, each dripping with details from the black mamba’s legacy. From Draft Day, a reminder of the doubt that fueled Kobe's fire after he was drafted 13th; to Supernova, illuminating the fact that dying stars shine brightest in their final moments. We unpacked each lesson and brought to life Kobe’s wisdom using design, photography, words, and films. And because of the unpredictable nature of live sports, we adjusted the narrative in real-time to reflect his final season and tell the most authentic story possible.
In Lesson 02: “Be Courageous" — the highlight of the campaign — Robert Glasper, a two-time Grammy-winning jazz pianist and master in his own right, penned Kobe’s opus. We captured Glasper and his trio in the studio as they paid tribute to Kobe’s career and the idea of courage during Black History Month.
An entire generation of athletes, fans and future ballers around the globe said goodbye to a hero, and we were honored to curate the narrative.
Kobe is one of the game’s most notorious players. From day one, he’s made headlines. Some loved him, some hated him, but nobody could get enough of him. His explosive career left millions of stories and pieces of content in its wake. Our lessons weaved these moments together and sparked a conversation with haters and fans alike. It even gave his peers and fellow athletes a chance to tip their cap to the Black Mamba. During 2016, Kobe kept us all on our toes and brought us to out feet one last time with his unforgettable, 60-point, storybook sendoff at the Staples Center. We were proud to play a part in such a massive journey. Mamba — out!
Watch the case study at the top of the page for more details about the campaign.