If you listened to our latest Olympics podcast, watched the game or read any reports, you know Kobe Bryant went bonkers in the second half of the United States’ quarterfinal win over Australia. 20 points, six threes and one awkward version of Neil Diamond’s “America” in just a half of basketball proved that when Kobe needs to turn it on against inferior competition, he still can.

It’s just a simple matter of, in Kobe’s words, “activating the Black Mamba.” Seriously, he said that. From the Los Angeles Times:

Bryant certainly needed no conscience to perform as he did in the second half after his sluggish statistics. Through the first five games, he had only 14 field goals and 15 personal fouls, and he missed his first five shots against Australia.

“I was just kind of searching for something to get me going, searching for something to kind of activate the Black Mamba,” he said.

I don’t mean to be crude, but in light of Tas’ gold medal performance last night, it has to be mentioned that “activate the Black Mamba” could be a terrible euphemism for getting a boner. It sounds like a line from Mad magazine. Now that we’ve all addressed the deadly snake in the room, let’s marvel in the fact that Kobe continues to refer to himself as “the Black Mamba,” even when it’s just in his own head.

We’ve all heard the old adage that “you can’t give yourself a nickname,” and that is still the case. However, something needs to be said for the diligence with which Kobe is pursuing this. It was four years ago that Kobe gave himself the nickname, seemingly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films, and he’s still trying to make it happen even though we all agree it’s silly and that you don’t really need a nickname when you’re already a one-name superstar.

The fact that it sounds like he actually calls himself “the Black Mamba” when he is just thinking about himself is even better. I imagine there’s a lot of “Oh, the Black Mamba doesn’t know where the Black Mamba left his keys” and “the Black Mamba needs to remember to brush the Black Mamba’s fangs before the Black Mamba heads to the gym” and stuff like that going on in Kobe’s head while he’s puttering around the house. And while I’m not necessarily on board with the nickname or how it came about, it’s still kind of impressive that Kobe is so devoted to it that he’ll even even call himself Black Mamba when no one is around. It’s that dedication that’s made him one of the best players ever.

Plus, and this is a total guess, I bet Kobe Bryant does snake motions all the time when he’s alone. Stuff like sitting up and wiggling side-to-side and eating ice cream by shooting his face at the cone. Don’t put it past him, he’s really in to this snake persona thing. Total Slytherin.