Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night, with his widow Vanessa again showing tremendous strength in delivering another gut-wrenching speech.
Bryant’s impact and legacy transcended leagues, and a wide range of Nike baseball athletes — including Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts, Gavin Lux and Max Muncy — chose to honor the five-time champion with custom cleats.
They were modeled after the Nike Kobe 5 protro “Undefeated Hall of Fame” pair that released this week and have been seen on the feet of many NBA players.
After posting pictures of their custom cleats on social media, Betts, Lux and Muncy wore them during Saturday’s 7-0 win over the Miami Marlins. It was a particularly notable gesture by Betts, who is a Jordan Brand athlete and regularly wears Air Jordan 1 cleats.
Mookie Betts and Max Muncy were among the players to wear cleats modeled after the Nike Kobe 5 protro 'Undefeated Hall of Fame'
(Photos via USA Today) pic.twitter.com/TrDy4v5sP5
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) May 16, 2021
During a postgame interview with Kirsten Watson on SportsNet LA, Muncy discussed the meaning behind getting to wear cleats modeled after one of Bryant’s signature shoes:
“He meant a lot. Obviously he meant a lot to the city of Los Angeles. Me being from Texas, I didn’t pay too much attention. But to come here and play for the Dodgers, see what kind of impact he had on the community, it became special to me. So to be able to honor him tonight is pretty cool.
“They did a really good job with the cleats. They look great. Hopefully I can get them authenticated and we’ll figure out what to do with them from there.”
Walker Buehler, another of the Dodgers signed to a sponsorship deal with Nike, also shared a look at his Bryant-inspired cleats. However, given that Buehler did not pitch Saturday, they remained in his locker.
Roberts glad to see Kobe celebrated
The Dodgers collectively and individually have honored Bryant since the tragic accident in January 2020 that also took the lives of his daughter Gianna and seven others.
“He’s a legend, an icon,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said ahead of the Hall of Fame ceremony. “I think obviously what he did on the basketball court speaks for itself, but I think when you’re talking about legacy, there’s a lot of things and a lot of people he impacted off the court.
“Obviously we’re still talking about it and him, how he impacted not only the sport of basketball, but all sports and people. It’s obviously sad his time had come then, but it’s good to see people are still breathing life into his legacy.”
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