More than a year and a half after his tragic death, athletes all over the world have continued to honor the legacy of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
When the Toronto Blue Jays began a four-game series with the L.A. Angels at Angel Stadium on Tuesday, All-Star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. donned a pair of customized cleats that pay tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
The kicks were designed by New Jersey-based artist Mike Jordan and include portraits of Kobe and Gianna as well as their Nos. 2, 8 and 24:
Vlad Jr is paying tribute to Kobe and Gianna this week with two pairs of customized @jumpman23 cleats. This pair features hand painted portraits and a lyric from XO by @beyonce which was one Kobe’s favorite songs. After the series these cleats will be sent to Vanessa Bryant ???? pic.twitter.com/nBHCDH7sp9
— Jordan Custom Kicks (@mikejordan_art) August 9, 2021
Mamba & Mambacita forever.
Vladdy's honouring Kobe & Gigi with his shoes tonight ???????? pic.twitter.com/i3PNRiXemR
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 10, 2021
Jordan noted he began working on the project in June to ensure the cleats would be ready for Guerrero to wear when the Blue Jays traveled to Southern California. It’s Toronto’s first visit to Anaheim since 2019.
The cleats also include lyrics from “XO” by Beyoncé, which is a nice touch considering it was one of Bryant’s favorite songs. The 28-time Grammy Award winner performed the song at Bryant’s memorial service at Staples Center in February 2020.
Guerrero, born in Canada and raised in the Dominican Republic, grew up a Lakers fan and idolized Bryant. He plans to send the cleats to Vanessa Bryant at the conclusion of the Blue Jays’ series with the Angels.
Pau Gasol channeled Kobe Bryant memories to push through injury rehab
One of Bryant’s favorite teammates and close friends Pau Gasol recently revealed he channeled memories of Kobe to help push him through a lengthy injury rehab.
Gasol hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2018-19 season but recently helped lead FC Barcelona win the La Liga Championship and suited up for his native Spain in the Tokyo Olympics.
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