Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna have been in the hearts of Lakers fans since their tragic deaths on January 26, but the memory of their lives has been especially prominent with the start of the NBA Playoffs and WNBA season. Almost seven full months later, it still doesn’t feel real.
On Sunday, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers have plans on paying tribute to Bryant if they make it past the first round by wearing their “Black Mamba” jerseys in the second round. Since then, information has been released about when they’ll wear the jerseys and how they’ll differ from the ones they’ve worn previously.
The Lakers will wear their “Black Mamba” alternative jerseys on 8/24 for Game 4 of the first round against Portland, according to the NBA’s Lockervision website. Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, shared an image of the uniform, including a white heart patch with the No. 2 for Gigi pic.twitter.com/QKGVmhnOXB— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 18, 2020
August 24, or “8/24,” is Kobe Bryant Day in both Los Angeles and Orange County. The day before, August 23, is Bryant’s birthday. He would have turned 42 this month.
It appears the No. 2 patch will replace the “KB” patch the Lakers have worn on their jerseys since Bryant died. The patch is the first official jersey tribute the Lakers have made to Gianna, but it’s not the first one the NBA has done for her and Kobe. At the NBA All-Star game in February, Team LeBron and Team Giannis wore the Nos. 2 and 24, respectively.
The WNBA also honored Gianna by making her and her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester honorary draft picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. Altobelli and Chester were among the nine victims that died in the helicopter crash in Calabasas on January 26.
It’s hard to say that it will ever get easier to cope with the fact that Kobe and Gigi are no longer with us, but these tributes will help keep their memory alive for hopefully generations to come. Mamba forever. Gigi forever.