The Los Angeles Lakers celebrated the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant this week by wearing the Black Mamba City Edition jerseys in a 135-115 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has only been with the team for one season, but already understands the significance Bryant holds within the franchise. Some of that is because Vogel — like so many others — spent years watching Bryant from a fan perspective, in awe of the incredible things he was able to do on the court.
This appreciation was only amplified when Vogel joined the Lakers organization last summer. “To me, what Kobe represents for this generation of players and myself — even as a youngster I saw Magic and Kareem and those teams — Kobe made it cool as hell to be a Laker for 20 years,” said Vogel.
“He just had that swag about him with this team. He really embodied this organization. He’s the greatest Laker of all-time. When you think about the way this team is constructed, it’s just fun to be a part of knowing the legacy he created in those 20 years.”
In the seven months since Bryant’s tragic death, alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others, it has been shown on endless occasions just how much he meant to the city of Los Angeles and NBA world. Murals have been painted and untouched since January and tributes have been given from all walks of life.
While Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made the Lakers popular, it was Bryant who set the tone for the franchise. Mamba Mentality has become the mantra for the Lakers organization and many other players in the NBA.
LeBron James interprets Mamba Mentality
Following the Lakers’ blowout win against the Trail Blazers, James spoke about the importance of Mamba Mentality and what it means to him.
“To be able to continue his legacy is something that hits home for me and is easy for me because I put in the work,” he said.
“If you want to see results, you’ve got to work at it. It’s not about the wins or the losses. A lot of people want to see results but a lot of people don’t want to put in the work. He wasn’t one of those guys and I’m not one of those guys.”
In addition to identifying with Bryant in that regard, James is humbled by playing for the same Lakers organization. “It’s been an honor to just put on a Laker uniform, even before the passing of the great Kobe Bryant,” he said.
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