Kobe Bryant only played for the Los Angeles Lakers during his illustrious 20-year career. But Sunday night, teams and players across the NBA paid tribute in the most fitting ways possible to the baller, who died in a helicopter crash early Sunday in Calabasas, Calif.
To start tonight’s schedule of games, teams across the league swapped 8-second and 24-second violations, a nod the numbers the late baller wore as a pro. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, who typically wears No. 11, came out against the Washington Wizards wearing the No. 8. And the Dallas Mavericks released a statement from team owner Mark Cuban stating the No. 24 will never be worn again by any player on his team.
But for several players, the most personal way of showing love to the Black Mamba was sending a message through their sneakers.
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Among the players writing personal messages on their game shoes were Young, Austin Rivers of the Houston Rockets and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, who added nods to Bryant on their Adidas sneakers, and Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Phoenix Suns who wrote “Mamba 4L” on his Converse All Star Pro BB.
The Nike Kobe 4 Protro was worn by Jaxson Hayes and Frank Jackson of the New Orleans Pelicans, who wrote the phrases “Mamba Mentality” and “R.I.P. Bean” on their pairs, respectively. And Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers wore the Undefeated x Nike Kobe 1 Protro with messages for Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who also died in the helicopter crash.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, died Sunday in a Calabasas, Calif., helicopter crash, as first reported by TMZ Sports and confirmed by the L.A. County Sheriffs department. According to the Associated Press, the crash resulted in nine fatalities.
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