A snake from Zoo Atlanta.

A snake from Zoo Atlanta.

ATLANTA — The celebrated Kobe Bryant national retirement tour pulls into Philips Arena on Friday night at 8 p.m., with the Hawks and Zoo Atlanta honoring one of the NBA’s best ever players.

The Hawks and Zoo Atlanta are collaborating on the “Black Mamba” tribute as the Zoo will name its black mamba snake “Kobe.” Moreover, the Hawks will make a donation to Zoo Atlanta to further honor Bryant.

A black mamba snake.

A black mamba snake.

“Kobe Bryant’s career accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Hawks and Philips Arena CEO Steve Koonin. “He has set a standard with his incredible work ethic, tremendous will and competitive spirit. We’re happy to be partnering with Zoo Atlanta to recognize the impact Kobe has made on the NBA and its popularity worldwide.”

Bryant, the third-leading scorer in NBA history, is a five-time NBA champion and 17-time All-Star.

Zoo Atlanta recently completed a multi-million dollar complex, Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, which is home to the black mamba and more than 70 other reptile and amphibian species in state-of-the-art habitats. The complex features 60,000 gallons of water and more than 9,700 square feet of hand-crafted rockwork designed to replicate some of Earth’s most iconic wild places.

“Zoo Atlanta is thrilled to be part of this very special tribute. Mr. Bryant is a legend on the court, and the black mamba is a legend in the wild,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “We’re proud to partner with our home team, the Atlanta Hawks, on recognizing Mr. Bryant’s contributions to sports with the naming of this animal, and we hope everyone will visit Scaly Slimy Spectacular, our newest destination at Zoo Atlanta, to see the new namesake in person.”

Photos: Instagram

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