Anthony Davis dropped a game-winning buzzer beater to put the Los Angeles Lakers up 2-0 over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals on Sept 20. It was an exciting moment for all, inching the team closer to winning the title this year. What made the moment even more special was Davis screaming “Kobe!” as the shot swished, paying homage to legendary former Lakers star Kobe Bryant who died earlier this year.
The Lakers were already wearing the “Black Mamba” uniforms: alternative jerseys that Bryant himself helped design years before his death. ESPN reports that Davis elaborated on the importance of the moment and wearing the jerseys. “Obviously, we’re representing him,” he said. “Especially in those jerseys. It’s his jersey, one he created, and any time we put it on, we want to win.”
Davis’ dagger 3 ended his run with a staggering 31 points. His numbers were, of course, owed to his effort. But Davis explained that Lakers coach Frank Vogel, late in the fourth quarter, reminded the team of the significance of the jerseys and Kobe’s memory to motivate them to win. “He said, ‘Look at the jerseys you have on. He would have made big-time plays. So it’s time for us to make big-time plays,’” said Davis about Vogul’s speech. “Just looking down at the jersey and Coach telling us, it’s a constant reminder that Kobe is with us, and we kind of have the spirit in those jerseys.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people were killed in a January helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA. The Lakers dedicated the rest of their season to the legendary franchise star and first wore the “Black Mamba” jerseys on Aug 24 — the date that mirrors the two numbers that Bryant wore during his basketball tenure (“8” and “24”).
The Lakers and Nuggets play again today at 9 p.m. ET.
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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