No longer could Kobe Bryant deliver a win for the Los Angeles Lakers with a dramatic game-winner and unmatched competitiveness.
Still, the Lakers benefited from his influence in their 135-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday in Game 4 of their first-round NBA playoff series. A day after Bryant would have turned 42 and nearly seven months after he and his 13-year-old daughter died, the Lakers found numerous ways to honor the fallen icon and Gianna.
The Lakers wore the “Black Mamba” City Edition jerseys that included a heart with the No. 2, the number that Gianna once wore. They sported the Kobe V Protro 5x Champ Nike shoes. And most importantly, the Lakers mimicked Bryant’s competitiveness and skill to extend their series lead to 3-1 with a chance to close out the series in Game 5 on Wednesday.