At this point in your life, you probably call Brian Scalabrine “White Mamba” and never think twice about it. After all, he calls himself The Mamba, so why shouldn’t you? Exactly.
However, you’ve probably never stopped to consider why he’s got a snake-based nickname, other than some vague understanding that it’s a play on Kobe Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname. You’re right about that. But there’s still more funny Scalabrine nonsense attached to it’s creation. Let’s let him tell it. From Redeye Chicago’s cover story:
He says it all started with a Kobe Bryant shoe commercial early last year that called theL.A. Lakers star the “Black Mamba.” A few days later, when Scalabrine made himself a version of Bryant’s shoe on the Nike website, he put “White Mamba” on it on a whim.
“I was just like, ‘The black mamba is the world’s most deadliest snake, and I’m the world’s most dormant snake. By far,’” he said, laughing. “There’s no snake used less than me.” [...]
“Stacey King just took it and went with it. And when he does that, it just goes to a whole other level,” Scalabrine said. “I think people refer to me as the White Mamba more than any other name.”
Just a vintage snake analogy, turned in to a nickname that has stood the test of time. At this point, more people call Scalabrine by his Mamba nickname than Kobe. It’s rare that a nickname spinoff eclipses the original, so you know it must be good.
In fact, if you were ranking NBA nicknames, White Mamba would probably be near the top of the list. It’s better than “King” James, no one ever calls Dwyane Wade “Flash” anymore and the “D-Will” style of nicknames is way played out. It’s not quite “The Truth,” “Matrix” or “Big Baby,” but it’s still an upper echelon pseudonym.
Usually you can’t give yourself a nickname, but sometimes if conditions are perfect, a special person can really pull it off. Brian Scalabrine is that special person. Long live the White Mamba.