The past two days were emotional for Los Angeles Lakers fans as Kobe Bryant would have celebrated his 42nd birthday on Sunday, and it was followed by Mamba Day — or Kobe Bryant Day — on Monday (8/24).
Several players across the league shared heartfelt messages to Bryant over the two days, and some wore his jersey or signature shoes when arriving to the arena for their respective playoff game. The Lakers took it a step further by donning the Black Mamba City Edition jersey in Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James also wore the special edition version with No. 8 on the front and 24 on the back for the short trip from the hotel to the arena. With Nike holding “Mamba Week” that although frustrating because of limited releases, Lakers Nation asked fans to share their favorite Kobe Bryant signature shoes.
Submissions included pairs from his time with Adidas and Nike, and also some who customized pairs via Nike iD.
— AgentOne (@Agent0ne) August 24, 2020
— chino ???????????????? (@ZuDubon) August 24, 2020
— a v (@Afro_Loaf) August 24, 2020
— Tmo (@Tmo559) August 24, 2020
— Leif (@aron710) August 24, 2020
— Noz????4???? (@Noz8504) August 24, 2020
Lakers extra motivated on Mamba Day
The Lakers have endured plenty of adversity off the court this season, with the Bryant family tragedy easily the most difficult for the franchise. On top of Monday being recognized as Mamba Day, the Lakers wanted to especially carry out Bryant’s spirit while in his jersey design.
“First, we want to have positive emotions. We want to have this be a day to celebrate his life and carry that type of emotion into the game,” head coach Frank Vogel said before tipoff.
“We’ve always wanted to embody what he stood for. We all know he would want us to keep our foot on the gas even though we’ve won two in a row, and that’s how we’re going to try to approach this game.”
The Lakers went out and opened the game on a 15-0 run and led by 24-8 in the first quarter. “I did notice that we were up 24-8,” James said after the win.
“When I looked up there and saw 24-8, I was like, ‘OK, he’s here in the building.’ It was a beautiful night for our franchise and something we will always remember.”
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