LeBron James Honors Kobe Bryant's Wife and Daughters After Game 2 Win in Black Mamba Jerseys
"Hopefully we're making them proud by wearing these uniforms tonight and throughout the course of the postseason," LeBron James said
After Friday night's game, when the Lakers won Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, James spoke about the success of the team's 2-0 series lead and the significance of wearing Bryant's Black Mamba jerseys during their wins.
The 35-year-old athlete talked about the significance of wearing the special uniforms designed by Bryant and how the jersey has been extremely meaningful for the team.
"It’s always special to represent someone that meant so much, not only to the game but obviously to the Lakers organization for 20-plus years," James said in a postgame interview. "For us to honor him, being on the floor, this is what it's all about."
He went on to give a special shout-out to Bryant's family, including his wife Vanessa and three surviving daughters. "We’re thinking about the Bryant family, of Vanessa and them daughters," he said.
James added, "They’re with us, we’re with you guys, we love you guys and hopefully, we’re making them proud by wearing these uniforms tonight and throughout the course of the postseason.”
For the Lakers, this year's finals appearance is the team's first since 2010 when Bryant won his fifth championship.
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.
Nike began selling special edition versions of the Black Mamba jersey on Aug. 24 through its website. These versions feature Bryant's No. 8 on the front and No. 24 on the back — a change from the first time it was released.
After securing a spot in the NBA Finals last month, James reflected on Bryant’s legacy and how it's impacted his drive own to win.
“Every time you put on purple and gold, you think about his legacy and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years,” he said, noting that the pair shared the same “mindset” about wanting “to be the best.”
“That drive to always want to be victorious, it stops you from sleeping,” he continued, referencing Bryant's Mamba mentality. “You sacrifice a lot of things, you sacrifice your family at times because you’re so driven to be so great that other things fall by the wayside at times. I understand that. I’m one of the few that can understand the mindset that he played.”
As for his own legacy, James said that while he’s never “cast himself as a superstar,” he hopes that at the end of his career, he’ll be remembered with respect.