During their march through the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers have spoken at length about the meaning of Kobe Bryant in their pursuit of a title. Now, they’ll be trying to finish that run with his memory on their backs.
The Lakers plan to don their “Black Mamba” jerseys for a Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday, the team announced.
The Lakers currently hold a 3-1 lead over the Miami Heat in the series, one win away from their first NBA championship since Bryant’s final title in 2010.
According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, the Lakers initially planned to wear the uniforms in Game 2 and Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but decided to wear them for Game 5 as well.
The Bryant designed ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys himself and introduced during the 2018 season. As they approached this year’s playoffs, the Lakers made the popular decision to bring back the uniforms.
The Lakers are now 4-0 while wearing the uniforms, with wins over all four of their playoff opponents. The most iconic of the wins came against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, when Anthony Davis made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and yelled Bryant’s name.
Following a Game 2 win in the NBA Finals, LeBron James was asked about the the jerseys and had this to say:
“It’s always special to represent someone that meant so much, not only to the game but also to the Lakers organization for 20-plus years. For us to honor him, being on the floor, this is what it’s all about.
“We’re thinking about the Bryant family, of Vanessa and them daughters. 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.”
The Lakers have worn their gold jerseys in Games 1 and 4 and white in Game 3.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 7, 2020