Friday marks the two-year anniversary since Kobe Bryant sailed off into the sunset after 20 illustrious seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, in typical Bryant fashion, he would not let ‘Mamba Day’ pass without a bang.
The five-time champion electrified Staples Center as he scored 60 points to lead the Lakers to a comeback victory over the Utah Jazz. And to commemorate that performance, Nike released the Kobe 1 Protro ‘Mamba Day’ on Friday.
The black shoe features a gold Swoosh and accents, and Roman numerals “XX” on each tongue to signify Bryant’s career. In addition to that release, his latest signature shoe, the Kobe A.D. NXT 360, also hit shelves on Friday morning.
And to cap off the weekend, a Protro 1 ‘Final Seconds’ version is slated to go up for sale on Saturday. The white shoe with purple trim and a gold Swoosh matches the pair Bryant wore when he made a buzzer beater against the Phoenix Suns to give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs.
To drum up even more excitement for the release, Nike tabbed Lakers standout forward Kyle Kuzma to recreate Bryant’s dramatic shot and share his thoughts on what it takes to become an NBA champion:
Black Mamba in the making.@kylekuzma talks big plays and championship aspirations in honor of the Kobe 1 Protro ‘Final Seconds,’ dropping 4.14.
— Nike Los Angeles (@NikeLA) April 13, 2018
Kuzma has made no secret over how much he idolizes Bryant and hopes to follow in his footsteps. Kuzma’s play and quotes throughout his rookie season earned him comparisons to the Lakers legend and further cemented his popularity with the fanbase.
Kuzma wore several pairs from Bryant’s signature line, including the first release of the Nike Kobe 1 Protro which resembled the original pair that debuted 2005. Randle wore the ‘Final Seconds’ version of the shoe for the Lakers’ final two games of the regular season.