The Lakers have been planning for a while now to unveil a Kobe Bryant statue outside their arena on Feb. 8, which is this Thursday. Now it turns out that they’ll also be saluting Bryant that night with their uniforms.
The team announced today that they’ll be wearing their popular “Black Mamba” uniforms for Thursday night’s home game against the Nuggets. The uniform, which features a snakeskin pattern and served as the Lakers’ inaugural City Edition design in 2017-18, was co-designed by Bryant and was also intended as a tribute to him. It included an “LA 24” on the waistband and the numbers 8 and 24 under the flaps of the shorts — references to the two uniform numbers Bryant wore with the Lakers. (Both numbers were eventually retired for him, marking the first time a team retired two numbers for the same player.)
Although City uniforms are supposed to be worn for only one season and then mothballed, the Lakers revived the Black Mamba design for the 2020 postseason, and now they’re doing so again on Thursday night.
According to the Basketball Jersey Database, this uniform is one of five black alternate designs that the Lakers have worn over the past decade. Here are the other four, and the years they were worn:
(My thanks to Phil for letting me know about today’s Lakers announcement.)