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Hawks, Zoo honor Kobe Bryant by naming deadly snake after him

The Atlanta Hawks and Zoo Atlanta will honor NBA great Kobe Bryant by naming a black mamba, which National Geographic says is "the world's deadliest snake," after him. The Hawks host the Los Angeles Lakers at 8 p.m. Friday.

MORE COVERAGE: Bryant announces retirement

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"To pay tribute to Bryant’s memorable career, the Hawks and Zoo Atlanta have announced that the Zoo will name its black mamba snake Kobe," a statement from the team said. "In addition, the Hawks will make a donation to Zoo Atlanta to further honor Bryant."

According to National Geographic, "Black mambas are fast, nervous, lethally venomous, and when threatened, highly aggressive. They have been blamed for numerous human deaths, and African myths exaggerate their capabilities to legendary proportions. For these reasons, the black mamba is widely considered the world’s deadliest snake."

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Zoo Atlanta

Not that black mamba snakes are out to get anyone. "Black mambas use their incredible speed to escape threats, not to hunt prey," National Geographic notes.

Leaders from the Hawks and Zoo Atlanta said they were proud to honor Bryant, the NBA's third-highest all-time scorer and 17-time NBA All-Star.

“Kobe Bryant’s career accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Hawks and Philips Arena CEO Steve Koonin in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta, said in a statement. “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.”

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Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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