When Shaquille O'Neal saw a post from Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, in 2015 in which she called her husband "Bay-Boo," he immediately wondered where that nickname came from. Having known Kobe for almost two decades, O'Neal asked his former teammate if Bay-Boo, which didn't really resonate with his on-court persona, really were one of his nicknames. Kobe straight-up said yes.
However, Shaq's co-host, John Kincade, added flavor to the discussion by asking how Kobe would have reacted if some of his fiercest rivals, such as LeBron James, used the said nickname to poke fun at him during a game. Of course, Bryant gave him an epic response.
"I'll tell you what: I do not care what they whisper. Bay-Boo will still drop 60," Kobe said on an episode of "The Big Podcast with Shaq."
We may never know the full story behind Kobe's "Bay-Boo" nickname. However, one thing is certain; Bryant's monikers often have deep meaning.
In fact, the late Los Angeles Lakers legend gave his Kobe III "Prelude" shoes a very fitting nickname in 2008 out of dejection over the team's NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics.
"I remember just going to the locker room, taking that shoe off, and just throwing it against the wall, and just being absolutely livid and dejected. So that's the first thing that comes to mind is that misery," Bryant once revealed.
"I'm going in my mind like… 'This was your chance to win without Shaq and now he's laughing because everybody's saying that you can't win without him, you can't get it done, you're too selfish and all sorts of sh*t.' So, I look at that and that's the first thing that come to my mind," he added.
Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Bryant had a number of nicknames. Some call him "Bean," while others refer to him as "Vino." However, the most notable one was "Black Mamba," a unique nickname derived from his world-famous mantra, "Mamba Mentality."
"To sum up what mamba mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself," Bryant once explained.
No one dared to mock Kobe's Mamba Mentality on the court. And even though Vanessa's nickname for his husband doesn't sound Black Mamba-like, we can only assume no one would mock him for it either.
If someone did, we at least know how Bryant would react. And there would be no way to stop "Bay-Boo."