The Lakers wore the all-black uniforms in their Game 2 win over the Heat and were scheduled to wear them again in Game 7. Instead, LeBron James and the Lakers will don the alternate jerseys as they attempt to clinch their 17th NBA championship.
Los Angeles holds a 4-0 record this postseason when wearing the black uniforms, which were designed by Nike in collaboration with Bryant. In January, Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine killed in a helicopter crash.
“Mamba and Mambacita jerseys approved for Game 5,” Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, wrote Wednesday on Instagram. “Let’s go @Lakers.”
The Lakers first wore the “Black Mamba” uniforms on Jan. 26, 2018, against the Chicago Bulls — two years to the day before Bryant’s death. The jerseys are part of the “Laker Lore Series,” which included uniforms inspired by Magic Johnson in 2018-19 and another by Shaquille O’Neal in 2019-20.
The “Black Mamba” uniforms feature a black snakeskin print and drop shadows on the numbers, a flashback to a detail from the Lakers uniforms when Bryant was a rookie in the 1996-97 season.