A tumultuous year has been significant for the Los Angeles Lakers for various reasons, their NBA Playoffs in the extraordinary Orlando bubble experiment to name one. Unfortunately, late legend Kobe Bryant could not celebrate the end of the franchise’s seven-year postseason drought after his tragic death became another depressing development of the last months.
But the Lakers have put in an enormous amount of effort to honor Bryant’s legacy. For instance, LeBron James and Co. have been playing in jerseys with commemorative patches on them featuring the five-time NBA champion’s initials this season.
And according to Brad Turner of the L.A Times, if the Lakers defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, they are planning to pay homage to Bryant by wearing the Black Mamba jersey during the NBA Playoffs:
If the Lakers advance past the first round of the playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers, they plan to wear the Black Mamba jersey in honor of Kobe Bryant during the following rounds, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Bryant himself helped Nike design the jersey ahead of the 2017-18 season, in the company’s return as the NBA’s official apparel partner, with its snakeskin theme inspired by his Black Mamba nickname.
The uniform was the first release of the “Lore Series” honoring franchise legends, and the Lakers debuted it in a road game against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 26 that same season.
Nike will also release limited quantities of the City Edition jersey, featuring both of Bryant’s numbers, along with several Kobe 5 Protro shoe models during “Mamba Week,” starting on Sunday, Aug. 23, the day the 18-time All-Star would have turned 42.
Orange County Declares Aug. 24 as ‘Kobe Bryant Day’
In a separate tribute, Orange County has decided to declare Aug. 24 as “Kobe Bryant Day” after an unanimous vote by the county’s Board of Supervisors last week. The date of course represents the two jersey numbers he wore during a 20-year career with the Lakers.
“A treasured member of our Orange County community, Kobe Bryant was the basketball legend that inspired so many young men and women to pursue their dreams and never give up,” Chairwoman Michelle Steel said.
L.A. City Council honored Bryant in a similar fashion four years ago after he bid his farewell to the NBA.
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