Nike Campaign Channels Kobe Bryant's Color Philosophy

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For Kobe Bryant, purple and yellow are not just his former Laker uniform colors. Purple represents overcoming challenges and setting fresh goals, while yellow signifies positivity, according to his views on the psychology of color that he articulates in a new campaign for Nike.

The effort, dubbed "Mamba Mentality," is by R/GA and plugs the new Kobe A.D. shoe that comes in five color varieties: grey, purple, blue, yellow and red. The shoe collection launched globally Thursday (Aug. 24) in a nod to the two uniform numbers (8 and 24) that he once wore, according to Nike.

On social media, Bryant marked the occasion by issuing challenges to four famous athletes and one music star. Each tweet used a color and the corresponding emotion he assigned to it.

For instance, he challenged Kendrick Lamar to "revolutionize the music program at Centennial High School," which is where Lamar went to high school in Compton, Calif.

He also challenged NBA star Isaiah Thomas, who was just traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, to make the All-NBA First Team.

Bryant also tweeted challenges at Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman, sprinter Allyson Felix and Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan. Bryant is trying to engage everyday fans by asking them on Twitter to call a phone number. It returns a recorded message by Bryant in which he asks callers to ask him questions and leave their social media handle, with the implication that he will respond directly.

The tweet drew more than 10,000 likes and nearly 4,000 retweets within three hours. But Bryant as of early Wednesday afternoon had not yet replied to any calls—including one message left by Ad Age—according to his twitter feed.

Bryant is expected to give more details about the campaign in a live announcement on his Facebook page starting at 5:30 p.m. EST, according to a Nike spokesman.

In an Aug. 14 press release announcing the new shoe collection, Nike stated that Bryant's "'Mamba Mentality' encompasses both the physical and psychological elements of basketball." The statement stressed Bryant's curiosity about "external factors that influence human behavior is lesser known," noting his interest in "the psychology of color—particularly in understanding the correlations between color, attitude and emotion."

Details follow about Bryant's color philosophy, including that blue "relays dependability and trust," grey "represents calm neutrality" and red means "passion."

The campaign comes as the retired NBA star continues to bolster his off-the-court creative game. For instance, he was intimately involved in an ad that debuted earlier this year for startup sports drink brand BodyArmor, in which he's a major investor. "Being creative is what I love to do," Bryant told Ad Age earlier this year, while noting that Nike has often given him the freedom to write his own ads for the brand, which he has long endorsed.

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