Kobe Day will forever be a special date for Los Angeles Lakers fans and people around the world. Aug. 24 will be celebrated every single year for the remainder of time, but this year it was in a way that will likely never happen again as LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a dominating victory in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a normal year it would still be the offseason, but 2020 has been anything except normal, so the Lakers got the opportunity to pay tribute to Kobe in the best possible way. They did exactly that by coming out with a purpose from the beginning of the game and never letting up.
The Lakers started the game with a 15-0 run and things were never close from there. One special moment came later in the first quarter as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished a layup to put the Lakers ahead 24-8.
“I was like, OK, he’s here in the building,” James noted following the game. “It was a beautiful night for our franchise.”
The focus and energy of the Lakers was something Bryant would’ve been proud of. They were dominant on both sides of the court, never giving Portland a chance to get in the game and keeping their foot on the gas no matter how big their lead got.
James himself finished with 30 points and 10 assists. He became the first Laker with consecutive 30-point double-doubles in the playoffs since Bryant registered three in a row during the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
“It’s been an honor to just put on a Laker uniform even before the passing of the great Kobe Bryant,” James said.
He now has the Lakers just one win away from moving on to the next round, but the team isn’t celebrating just yet because as Kobe would be the first one to point out, they haven’t won anything just yet.
JR Smith recalls favorite Kobe Bryant memory
JR Smith hasn’t been with the Lakers for long, but he definitely shares a connection with Bryant much like many others on the roster. The two were represented by the same agency at one point and worked out together for some time, not to mention facing off on the court.
Add in the fact that Smith was a shooting guard who grew up as Kobe was taking over the league so he surely was an influence on a young Smith who admitted to still struggling with Kobe’s death.
“I woke up [Sunday] morning and saw pictures of him, I’m still in shock. He’s one of those people you thought would be here forever,” Smith said.
“The career, the accolades, the championships, and everything else. I look up to him just as much as I look up to Jordan. His mindset, his work ethic, the way he saw the game, the way he prepared for his workout was different and so special.”
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