Kobe Bryant Stans are nearing the midway point of their season-long mourning process, as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar winds up his final season. While those fans won’t get much sympathy from the rest of the NBA fan-sphere, Nike—the Black Mamba’s long-time shoe sponsor—just dropped something that should make Kobe supporters proud, if not misty-eyed: an official theme song called “Be Courageous.”
The athletic-wear titan enlisted Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Robert Glasper and his band to pen an ode to the kid from Lower Merion, and the company’s P.R. describes Glasper’s approach as such:
Glasper’s choice of 4/4 and 6/8 time signatures, which define the track’s structure, goes deeper than jazz convention. The numbers align with a significant event in history: the assassination of a great leader on April 4, 1968 (4/4/68) in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Lorraine Motel. Additionally, Glasper draws inspiration from the city’s rich musical heritage — including pioneering labels like Stax Records, whose artists frequented the Lorraine Motel, which itself was a catalyst for community growth and support.
For Glasper, tying Martin Luther King, Jr. into the piece allows him to draw a leadership comparison to Kobe. The clip above also features clips of Glasper watching game film to seek inspiration for the song, as well as in-studio conversation between Glasper and his bandmates in which they discuss how to tackle it.
Listen to the audio version of “Be Courageous” below. Also below are full images of Nike Basketball’s Black History Month collection for 2016, which just went up for purchase on Monday at Nike.com.