Los Angeles Lakers plan on wearing 'Black Mamba' Kobe Bryant jerseys if they advance in NBA playoffs
KOBE BRYANT will be with the Los Angeles Lakers in spirit if they advance from the first-round of the NBA playoffs – with the team planning to wear "Black Mamba" jerseys in his honour.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 in January, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.
Now his old team will sport "Black Mamba" shirts – a nod to Bryant's nickname – if they beat the Portland Trail Blazers, according to reports.
Bryant was one of the designers of the snake print jersey with 16 stars on the side panels and a black interior.
Each star represents an NBA championship victory, including the five Bryant helped the team win during his illustrious, Hall of Fame career.
On Monday, Bryant’s wife Vanessa posted a photo on her Instagram story of what seemed to be four Black Mamba Lakers jerseys.
Three of the jerseys featured the No8, which Bryant wore in the early years of his career, while the others boasted his iconic No24, worn for the second-half of his playing days.
The No24 jersey included a small heart on the shoulder with No2, which his daughter Gianna wore on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.
Nike will be releasing a Black Mamba jersey during Mamba Week starting August 23 with No8 on the front and No24 on the back, ESPN reported last week.
During Mamba Week, Nike will also launch the Kobe 5 Protro sneakers and broadcast special programming.
The Nike Foundation will donate £800,000 to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation and proceeds from the Bryant products will fund a youth co-ed Mamba League in Los Angeles, among other sports initiatives.
The Lakers, who topped the Western Conference in the regular season, started the best-of-seven series against the Blazers on Tuesday.
They lost their opener against the eighth-seed Blazers on the back of another astounding performance from Damian Lillard.
Tributes for Bryant have abounded since the Lakers star’s tragic death at the age of 41.
Last week, August 24 was named as Kobe Bryant Day by California officials.
A statement read: “A treasured member of our Orange County community, Kobe Bryant was the basketball legend that inspired so many young men and women to pursue their dreams and never give up."
Bryant is survived by Vanessa, whom he married in 2001, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1.
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