Until the past year, Chad Faulkner had never met Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
Didn’t know the player or the man beyond what’s he’s seen on the court, read in feature articles, heard in television interviews.
Now Bryant’s Mamba brand adorns the building and permeates the holistic sports training business Faulkner founded in 2016.
“All I’d known is what I’ve seen,” said Faulkner. “Turns out, there is a lot more to him than the basketball player. He’s a business man, a CEO and a guy who cares deeply about helping kids and making an impact in their lives. He’s a dad, and that might be the biggest driving point in his life.”
Bryant’s commitment as a dad — he and his wife Vanessa have three daughters — might be the main reason that Faulkner’s Newbury Park-based Sports Academy has now been re-imagined going forward.
Faulkner and Bryant announced their partnership last week in the sports training enterprise formerly known as Sports Academy. Henceforth, it is the Mamba Sports Academy, and Faulkner said the joint venture re-energizes his business without altering the philosophy.
“I want to emphasize that this isn’t a licensing deal,” said Faulkner. “I wasn’t interested in that. He wasn’t interested in that. If Kobe puts his name on something, it’s because he believes in it and intends to be involved.
“He’s an intelligent guy. He’s got ideas and his presence certainly opens up opportunities for us. But, really, not much is going to change in the way we conduct our business. Our emphasis has been and always will be helping all levels of athletes achieve their potential. Those are our core values. I know from all our time together, Kobe brings the same commitment.”