Sunday would have been Kobe Bryant‘s 42nd birthday. It’s also the first birthday that’s passed since his tragic, untimely death. To honor the late Los Angeles Lakers legend, Nike decided to celebrate one of the brand’s biggest stars by tapping another Los Angeles legend.
Nike released its latest ad, “Better/Mamba Forever,” narrated by Kendrick Lamar. For this video, Cortez Kenny delivers a spoken word piece that matches the intensity Kobe brought to every facet of his life. It also immortalizes Kobe’s impact by mirroring Bryant’s leadership skills and pushing listeners to be better.
“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar says as images of Bryant flash across the screen. Lamar goes on to highlight the various ways people can be better in their lives as well as refusing to accept anything less than their best.
“Better leader, better generation, better nation,” Lamar continues. “Just be better. Can you do that? … Better me, better you, better us.”
Bryant’s career is a living example of how talent and hard work can be paired together to become a champion. Kobe won 5 NBA championships in 20 years, going to 7 Finals. After his time in the NBA, he was establishing a successful production career, which helped him win an Oscar. Because of what Kobe meant to basketball and culture, Nike isn’t the only one taking time to wish Bean a happy birthday.
Watch Kendrick Lamar and Nike’s tribute to Kobe Bryant above.