Los Angeles Sports Teams Celebrate Kobe Bryant on 8/24: 'Mamba Forever'

The Los Angeles Lakers, the team Kobe Bryant played for his entire 20-year career, celebrated Aug. 24 in tribute to the late NBA star

Following the birthday of the late Kobe Bryant on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers and the city's other sports teams continued to honor the NBA legend on another special day.

Sports fans around the country commemorated "Kobe Bryant Day" on Monday, Aug. 24, a date that features the two jersey numbers (8/24) that the late basketball legend wore during his career. Joining the Lakers in commemorating Bryant were the Los Angeles Rams and Kings, who posted their own tributes to social media on Monday.

On Instagram, the Rams posted a picture of two of Bryant's jerseys — one draped over a chair, another hanging in a locker — with a message that thanked the 20-year NBA veteran for "instilling the #MambaMentality in all of us on [and] off the field."

The Kings, who share their Staples Center home with the Lakers, posted a picture of two hockey helmets featuring Bryant's 8 and 24 numbers. The helmets also included a gold heart with "Gigi" written inside, in reference to Gianna, Bryant's 13-year-old daughter who also lost her life in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed Bryant and seven others.

"Mamba Forever," the club wrote in the post, which included purple and gold heart emojis.

kobe bryant, LA Kings
LA Kings/Twitter

The Lakers posted a tribute video and debuted the first images of the "Black Mamba" uniform they will wear in their game against the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night. The uniforms were designed by Bryant and Nike in 2017, and feature a black snakeskin print in reference to his "Black Mamba" nickname.

Earlier this week, Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, posted a picture of the updated Black Mamba uniforms to her Instagram Story. One featured a patch in the shape of a heart with a No. 2 in it — a tribute to Gianna, who wore No. 2 at the Mamba Sports Academy.

Since the accident, Bryant's fans have honored both him and Gianna in a number of manners.

One of the most visible ways has been the countless murals that have appeared around the world since January. The @KobeMural Instagram page has become the primary archive of these pieces, which have appeared everywhere from walls around America to street corners halfway around the world.

Two Lakers players also honored Bryant with tattoos. LeBron James received a tattoo featuring a snake — a reference to Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname — and his 8 and 24 jersey numbers. The design also includes two roses as well as the words “Mamba 4 Life” inked below the black serpent.

Lakers center Anthony Davis received a Bryant-inspired tattoo that featured a black snake wrapped around his Sheath logo.

The celebrations in honor of Bryant continue to showcase how important he was to the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles.

After graduating from Pennsylvania's Lower Merion High School in 1996, Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in that year's NBA Draft. He never suited up for the team — the Lakers quickly traded for Bryant, pairing him with their superstar center, Shaquille O'Neal. The tandem helped to lead the Lakers to three championships in a row from 2000 to 2002, and they are still the most recent NBA team to accomplish such a feat.

O'Neal was traded from the Lakers in 2004, leaving Bryant as the sole superstar on the team. The following years would see him accomplish many individual milestones, such as scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006. But the Lakers would remain far from championship contention before trading for center Pau Gasol in 2008.

That year, the addition of Gasol immediately helped Bryant reach his first NBA finals in the post-O'Neal era, but the Lakers eventually lost to the Boston Celtics.

Bryant and the Lakers responded by winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. The wins gave Bryant his final two NBA titles, bringing his total to five (just one less than his idol, Michael Jordan).

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Gianna and Kobe Bryant in 2019. Ethan Miller/Getty

While he would never again reach the NBA Finals, Bryant gave fans one more surprise when he scored 60 points in his final game on April 14, 2016. At 37 years old, he became the only player to end his career with such a high-scoring game.

Monday's commemorations came a day after the announcement that the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation website would be relaunched to increasingly provide underserved communities with sports programs long into the future.

Contributions to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.

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