Kobe Bryant

Nike is making sure Kobe Bryant goes out with a bang. The sports giant has announced that April 13 will be celebrated as "Mamba Day." The day coincides with Bryant's last game, against the Utah Jazz.

To send him off properly, Nike is enlisting the help of more than 200 athletes in a global, multi-sport tribute. Starting Thursday with Rory McIlroy's appearance at The Masters, prominent athletes around the world will tribute Bryant by wearing black-and-gold shoes.

Nike calls it "a metaphoric nod to Bryant's golden career fading to black."

Nike also released a new ad commemorating Bryant's career, featuring commentary from NBA stars Kevin Durant and Paul George, along with non-basketball stars like Russell Wilson.

Nike is embracing Bryant's career-long status as both a hero and villain, which is the freshest angle of this farewell celebration. Love him or hate him, you can't deny Bryant's contributions, or his on-court legacy.

Speaking of villains, leave it to Nationals star Bryce Harper to tweet a photo of his new Under Armour cleats, which are black and gold, on the same day of Nike's announcement.

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