Two weeks following the Orange County supervisors vote to make the date official, Mamba Day was celebrated across the NBA with a downpour of collectively heartfelt homages to the late great Kobe Bryant. Players and coaches across the league were donning Bryant’s jersey, finger guards, customized shoe messages, and a variety of other visible tributes.
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Kobe’s very own Los Angeles Lakers took the court in a Game 4 of the Western Conference Playoffs first round with the Portland Trailblazers; a career-long rival of Bryant’s who ironically once touted a player in Ruben Patterson as “The Kobe Stopper” (a moniker every bit as hysterical as ‘Playoff P’).
The stage was set for the ultimate Kobe Bryant Day tribute, an eventual 135-115 landslide victory which the Lakers led by almost 40 points mid/late-game. But little did we suspect that an otherworldly dedication to the Black Mamba would bestow itself before our eyes in a way nobody could coordinate…on the scoreboard.
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Score: 24-8 💜💛
(📺: Spectrum SportsNet & TNT) pic.twitter.com/3zvLXPBpLa
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 25, 2020
— Playoffs #LakeShow Rudy (@aguado_16) August 25, 2020
Nobody could’ve ever planned for such a beautiful tribute to Kobe Bryant to transpire without some form of coordination on behalf of the refs and players on the court, but LeBron James believed the scoreboard interjection came from the angel himself from above.
After the game, LeBron commented on the moment ingrained in the first quarter:
LeBron noticed the Lakers were up 24-8 in the first quarter. "I was like, OK, he's here in the building. It was a beautiful night for our franchise."
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) August 25, 2020
As a die-hard Lakers fan myself, the moment was a storybook one to say the very least; one that you practically couldn’t script into Hollywood for seeming too contrived. But the legendary Lakers hero was not only in attendance for the game, but evidently had a hand on the ball himself. Or so we will believe.
And a consistency of the Mamba’s fighting mantra…believing. Rest In Peace, Kobe.