New York Knicks

New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett honours Kobe Bryant by retiring 'Maple Mamba' nickname

RJ Barrett doesn't want to be called the "Maple Mamba" anymore.

The New York Knicks rookie told reporters prior to the team's game against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday that he wants to retire the nickname out of respect for Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was one of the nine individuals who passed away in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

"I don't want to get called that anymore," Barrett said. "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."

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Barrett was given the nickname during his one and only season at Duke, where he averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Those numbers helped him earn a number of accolades, including first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC.

Barrett went on to be the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

On the night of the draft, Barrett had his "Maple Mamba" nickname embroidered on the inside of his suit jacket.

"I've always said I loved his mentality," Barrett continued when talking about Bryant. "I always tried to play that way. He had an 'I don't care' mentality. He worked so hard. He played so hard all the time. I try to emulate that a lot."

Barrett is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this season. He's been sidelined since Jan. 18 with a sprained ankle.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from

Live updates from Australia vs. USA Staff
Raptors waive Bembry, Hood, Watson
Scott Rafferty
The best players still available Staff
Latest free agency rumours, signings Staff
Instant analysis of the biggest reported signings
Scott Rafferty
Report: DeRozan to join Bulls via sign-and-trade
Gilbert McGregor
More News