The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant at Dodger Stadium during pregame ceremonies before Sunday’s series finale against the Colorado Rockies. SportsNet LA is going to televise the ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m. PT.
Kobe would have celebrated his 42nd birthday Sunday. Along with Gianna and seven other passengers, Bryant tragically passed away in January when a helicopter crashed into a hillside on a foggy morning.
The Bryants and other members of the traveling party were headed for the Mamba Sports Academy, where Kobe was set to coach his daughter’s team. The expansive facility worked with the Bryant family to rebrand as The Sports Academy in the wake of the horrific accident.
Although Kobe made his mark winning five championships with the L.A. Lakers, he and other members of the organization have always been well received at Chavez Ravine. Bryant announced the lineups prior to Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, a night that Cody Bellinger said left him starstruck upon meeting the Lakers icon before first pitch.
Kobe’s passion and work in the community resonated with Justin Turner, who along with his wife Kourtney regularly provide for those in need through their Justin Turner Foundation. After deliberation, the Turners hosted their annual golf classic one day after the tragedy.
Making the decision all the more difficult was the event being held not far from the hillside of the accident. “Obviously a very difficult day for Los Angeles, for the country, for the world. Losing a sports icon is tough. Don’t really have any words,” Turner said in January.
“I think the hard part for everyone is he grew up in the living room with you. Watching him play for so many years, my generation, when you think sports in L.A., Kobe is the top of the top. Just really feeling for his family — Vanessa and the girls. It’s difficult to even wrap your head around. As much as he’s done on the court, the things he was doing and getting involved in after his career, are remarkable.
“You don’t find superstars of his caliber continue to be that influential in a community and for the game of basketball, especially fo women’s basketball. He’s a guy I always looked up to. Every time I had a water bottle or piece of trash or picking up balls in the cage, you grab it and shoot it towards the trash can or ball basket and yell, ‘Kobe!’ I’m just glad I got to grow up watching him and seeing everything he did and how amazing of a man he was. It’s pretty special.”
Nike, Lakers recognizing Kobe
Murals went up across the world in the days and weeks after the accident, and now Nike and the Lakers are poised to honor Bryant’s legacy.
Nike is re-releasing the “Black Mamba” Lakers City Edition jersey as well as multiple pairs of the Kobe 5 protro during “Mamba Week,” which begins Sunday. The Lakers are expected to wear the jerseys Bryant designed on Monday.
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