LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers wore special “Black Mamba” jerseys to remember Kobe Bryant in game four of their first round playoff series in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) quarantine bubble in Florida.
The Lakers also wore a special patch bearing the No 2 in a heart as they paid tribute to Bryant’s daughter Gianna as well before the Western Conference contest against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 18-time all-star Bryant died, along with his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter crash seven months ago in Calabasas, California. He was 41, and Sunday would have marked his 42nd birthday.
Monday was also “Kobe Bryant Day” in Los Angeles, where the city is honouring the five-time NBA champion with a move to rename the downtown road in front of the Staples Centre arena after him.
“This is a gift to the city of Los Angeles and to all the Kobe Bryant fans around the world,” councilman Curren Price said of the proposal.
Kobe Bryant Boulevard will stretch south from the arena for several blocks to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.
In 2016, Los Angeles initially declared Aug 24 to be “Kobe Bryant Day”. Orange County followed suit earlier this month with the same honour.
Bryant wore No 24 for his last 10 seasons and No 8 before that with the Lakers.
The move comes one day after Vanessa Bryant posted a heartfelt message to her late husband and daughter.
“To my baby. Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
On Sunday, Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers paid tribute to Bryant with a pre-game ceremony before their 11-3 win over Colorado.
Bryant became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers.
The 6ft-6inch Bryant scored 33,643 points, the fourth-most in NBA history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and LeBron James (34,241).
Bryant was chosen as the NBA finals Most Valuable Player for both of the two most recent Laker champion- ships. — AFP