The Los Angeles Lakers will wear the “Black Mamba” uniforms inspired and co-designed by Kobe Bryant in the postseason if they make it beyond the first round, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The uniforms are black with a snakeskin print on the front and the 16 stars on the side, meant to represent the 16 championships that the Lakers have won.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter accident in January. The Lakers have worn patches on their jerseys bearing Bryant’s “KB” initials since his death, and the team held a tribute for him before their first game following the accident. That game, ironically, was against the Portland Trail Blazers.The Blazers won that game. The Lakers will now need to beat the Blazers in order to reach the second round and beyond, where they plan to wear the uniforms.
It is unclear why the Lakers have chosen to wait until after the first round to wear the uniforms, but the heavy usage of the color black in Portland’s uniforms might have something to do with it. Of course, possible future postseason opponents in the Rockets, Clippers and Bucks all wear black as well, so it is unlikely that opponent consideration is the only factor at play here.
No matter the reason, fans will surely appreciate the gesture. Even now, seven months after his death, fans still mourn the loss of perhaps the most beloved Laker in franchise history. The Lakers were already surely trying to win this championship in Bryant’s honor, but the physical manifestation of that in his own uniform is an especially nice touch.