Lakers to Wear Special ‘Black Mamba’ Uniforms in Tribute to Kobe Bryant During Game on 8/24
Vanessa Byrant recently shared a picture of the jerseys, which debuted in 2018, with a patch that also pays tribute to her late daughter, Gianna
The Los Angeles Lakers will wear uniforms designed by Nike and Kobe Bryant on Aug. 24, a day that features the two jersey numbers (8 and 24) that the late NBA legend wore during his 20-year career.
According to the NBA's Lockervision website, the Lakers will wear the "Black Mamba" during their game against the Portland Trailblazers, their opponents in the first round of the NBA Playoffs currently underway in Orlando, Florida. The uniforms are part of Nike's "Lore Series," which sees the company collaborate with former players on a uniform design meant to pay homage to their playing days.
Bryant's uniform design features a black snakeskin print — a reference to his "Black Mamba" nickname — and 3-D style lettering. There are also 16 stars on the jersey's side panels representing the team's NBA titles, five of which were won with the help of Bryant.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that the Lakers would wait until the second round of the playoffs to wear the uniforms. The move to Aug. 24 (8/24) is fitting, as it comes a day after what would have been Bryant's 42nd birthday.
Bryant died on Jan. 26 in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others — Payton Chester, 13, Sarah Chester, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
The basketball legend played for the Lakers for his entire 20-year career. He made his debut with the team in 1996 after being drafted straight out of high school.
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.
According to ESPN, the Black Mamba uniforms made their debut during a game against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 26. 2018.
A lot has changed since then, with NBA stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis joining the team. The Lakers finished the NBA season at the top Western Conference but now trail the eighth-seed Blazers 0-1 in their first-round series.
RELATED VIDEO: Kobe Bryant's Mental Health Advice for Former USC Athlete Victoria Garrick: You Are Not 'Less Than'
Nike will also begin selling special edition versions of the Black Mamba jersey on Aug. 24 through its website. These versions will feature Bryant's No. 8 on the front and No. 24 on the back — a change from the first time it was released.
Orange County recently voted to make Aug. 24 Kobe Bryant Day to pay tribute to the former NBA MVP, who lived in Newport Beach, Calif.