Lakers coach reveals how Kobe Bryant inspired Black Mamba jerseys motivated team in Orlando bubble



The 2019-20 NBA season has been tough for the Los Angeles Lakers. Entering the bubble, they faced the same circumstances as the other teams. But what overwhelmed them the most was the pressure to win it all for Kobe Bryant.


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Just months before the bubble, Bryant died in a helicopter crash. His death affected players in the league, but it was more personal for players on his own team. Bryant played for two decades with the Lakers and expected the team to win the 2020 NBA Championship for him.

And they did it successfully. After an unstable series of ranking games, the Lakers advanced to the playoffs and went all the way. One of the highlights of their playoffs was the Black Mamba Jerseys that they wore as a tribute to Kobe. The Lakers wore a similar jersey last Kobe season, and Nike had worked with Bryant to design the jersey. They therefore relaunched him for the playoffs to pay tribute to him.


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According to assistant coach Phil Handy, these jerseys have motivated the whole team. He said, “Then they brought out the Mamba jerseys. They played with a different sense of urgency. You kind of felt how everyone was pulling in that direction and trying to do something special. “


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The Lakers first donned the Mamba jerseys in Game 4 against the Blazers in the first round and it was a resounding 135-115 victory for the Lakers. The second time they wore the jersey was in Game 2 against the Rockets in the second round. Once again, everything went according to plan for them as the Lakers secured an eight-point victory in this game.

The third time the Lakers wore it, it was their most memorable game under the Mamba jerseys. It came against the Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals and ended with game winner Anthony Davis.


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Their fourth victory in the Mamba jerseys came in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Heat. Unsurprisingly, they won again. Their last appearance in the shirt was in Game 5 as they hoped to win the title wearing the shirt. They were leading 3-1, but ended up losing unexpectedly.

To compensate, they won their next game and won the title. It was a bigger and more moving tribute to Kobe than the jerseys.


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LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 26: Kobe Bryant, 24, of the Lakers celebrates a three-point score in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 122-107 in a first-round basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers on April 23. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News / SCNG)

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