New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett does not want to be called ‘Maple Mamba’ anymore, out of respect for Kobe Bryant.
After the shocking death of the NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday, the Canadian rookie told reporters that he does not want to be compared to the late Bryant — who went under the pseudonym of Black Mamba.
“I don’t want to get called that anymore,” Barrett said on Tuesday, according to Newsday‘s Steve Popper.
“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.”
The moniker was originally handed to Barrett during his time at Duke University, for the way he presented himself on and off the court, akin to Kobe, and his home country.
Barrett is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 41 games this season.
More NBA coverage from Yahoo Sports