The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to wear their “Black Mamba” City Edition jersey on Monday for Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers. The jersey was designed by Kobe Bryant and first unveiled during the 2017-18 season.
With Nike providing teams more flexibility upon signing an apparel contract with the NBA, the Lakers took matters a step further by annually using their City Edition uniform to honor franchise legends through the “Lore Series.”
Bryant was first to design a jersey for the team, and he fitting tapped into his Black Mamba persona. The black alternate jersey featured shadowbox numbers, a snakeskin-like print and included 16 starts on the side panels to represent each of the Lakers’ 16 championships.
The shorts featured “LA 24” on the belt buckle area and Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 under the flap of each leg. The Lakers wore the Black Mamba City Edition jerseys for eight games that season. Kyle Kuzma called it his favorite jersey, and former head coach Luke Walton also was a fan of the look.
The franchise’s Lore Series continued in 2018-19 with Magic Johnson, and this season Shaquille O’Neal put his touches on the Lakers’ City Edition apparel.
It was recently reported the Lakers intended to bring back their “Black Mamba” alternate if they advanced in the NBA Playoffs. However, the NBA’s tracking of which uniforms each team will wear reflects that instead is occurring Monday, which is widely revered as Kobe Bryant Day.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel declined to provide any details when asked last week about the team’s plans. “We don’t have anything to announce regarding that,” he said. “We know Kobe’s birthday is coming up, Kobe Day is coming up next week.
“We do intend to honor him but we don’t have anything to announce further than that.”
Vogel then confirmed as much following Sunday’s practice. “This day and tomorrow, where we’re going to wear the uniforms, brings back a lot of the emotions of what happened,” he said. “We’re all still really sad about his loss, and Gigi’s loss.”
Nike’s Mamba Week
Nike held off on releasing any Bryant products in the time since the tragic accident, but began doing so Sunday with the start of “Mamba Week.” A Nike Kobe 5 protro Big Stage released, and more shoes and a special edition jersey are to follow Monday.
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