Despite the Los Angeles Lakers being out of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the first round has not disappointed as each series has provided more than enough drama and exciting moments for fans.
One team that has started to separate itself from the rest of the competition, however, is the Boston Celtics, who were able to sweep the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were the team no one wanted to play in the first round, yet the Celtics made quick work of them with their stifling defense and a strong showing from Jayson Tatum.
Tatum has firmly established himself as one of the best players in the league and he has looked almost unstoppable in Boston’s series against Brooklyn. Tatum is on the cusp of superstardom and his rise is something that the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant would be proud of. In fact, Tatum made sure to honor his childhood hero with a pair of custom Air Jordan 36s in Game 4, via Nick DePaula of ESPN:
Jayson Tatum is playing in a Kobe Bryant tribute pair of black snakeskin Air Jordan 36s tonight.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) April 26, 2022
The black snakeskin is an ode to Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname that he earned during his playing days with the Lakers, while the message is a reference to some advice Tatum had received from the Hall of Famer. To be great in the NBA means needing to sacrifice and no person embodied that mantra more than Bryant, who spent countless hours behind the scenes mastering his craft in order to be the best possible player he could be.
So far, Tatum looks like he is answering the challenge Bryant set forth for him as he has the Celtics in a good position to win their franchise’s 18th NBA championship. Lakers fans would obviously prefer to not see that happen, but there is certainly a respect for what Tatum is doing in the postseason.
Jayson Tatum shows off Kobe Bryant tattoo
Tatum grew up a Bryant fan and has openly talked about what the five-time champion means to him. His passing is still difficult to process to this day and several players like Tatum have gone out of their way to memorialize him.
Before the 2021-22 season started, Tatum was seen with a new Bryant tattoo featuring his famous No. 24 with a mamba design.
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