The Los Angeles Lakers will wear a special uniform on August 24th for Game Four of their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yes, that’s August 24th, otherwise expressed as “8/24”.
A report began circulating Sunday, originating in the Los Angeles Times, that the Lakers would wear the “Black Mamba” uniforms designed by Kobe Bryant, originally worn by the team as their “City Edition” set during the 2017-18 season, but they would only do so if they advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
From the Los Angeles Times:
If the Lakers advance past the first round of the playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers, they plan to wear the Black Mamba jersey in honour of Kobe Bryant during the following rounds, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2020
However, the NBA’s official uniform schedule suggests we will be seeing something special from the Lakers a little earlier than the second round.
Check it out:
Note the Lakers uniform for August 24th is listed as “Coming Soon”, paired up against the Blazers’ red “Statement” uniform. A red Blazers uniform allows a black Lakers uniform that night. Every other team has a uniform already set for all four of their first-round games of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, only the Lakers’ Game Four uniform is designated as “Coming Soon”.
As I alluded to earlier in the article, it would certainly make plenty of sense for the Lakers to wear this uniform on August 24th (or 8/24), 8 and 24 are the two numbers Kobe wore with the Lakers, both retired by the team. It will also be their first game following what would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday on August 23rd.
Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles along with his teenage daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant was posthumously elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame just three months later.
UPDATED Aug 18/20
It is now confirmed that the Lakers will wear the Black Mamba Kobe Bryant uniform for their game against the Trail Blazers on August 24th. Below is the scheduled uniform matchup for the game:
The Lakers’ “Black Mamba” uniform is being officially designated as a “Classic” uniform for this matchup. This would be the first time I can ever recall that a team has worn a throwback uniform for a playoff game that they hadn’t already worn earlier in that regular season.
UPDATE Aug 24/20
Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant shared a photo of the jersey on her Instagram feed. The jersey includes an additional patch with a heart and the number 2 in honour of their daughter Gianna who also died in the accident.