This day in Los Angeles Dodgers history saw the team pay tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on August 24, 2020.
The pregame ceremony included a video tribute narrated by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. The Dodgers planned the celebration in recognition of what would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday.
Kobe’s No. 24 and Gianna’s No. 2 were written across the back of the mound.
The five-time NBA champion, his daughter and seven additional passengers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020, breaking the hearts of the entire sports world, specifically in L.A.
While the video Scully narrated played, Dodgers players stood along the foul line while wearing Bryant’s No. 8 and 24 Lakers jerseys to pay their respects.
Matt Kemp, who at the time was with the Colorado Rockies but spent several years on the Dodgers roster while Bryant was playing for the Lakers, also wore his jersey while standing on the other side of the field.
Roberts has often quoted Bryant when speaking to the team, and he was appreciative of the organization for honoring Bryant in such a classy way.
“To see the Kobe jerseys in our lockers today was special. For us to reflect on him on his birthday, he’s a champion and one of the greatest of all-time,” Roberts said at the time.
“For us to sweep the Rockies and play good baseball and get to enjoy tonight, get an off day, it couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Appreciate the Rockies acknowledging Kobe’s birthday as well. I thought the Dodgers did a nice tribute.”
Kiké Hernández, in his first stint with the team, hit a three-run home run in the Dodgers’ 11-3 win and celebrated with a shooting motion as he crossed home plate.
“Kobe, for 3!” Hernández explained. “It was a three-run homer, like when you shoot a 3-pointer. We lost Kobe a little too soon. What he meant to not only this city but the entire world, to see the impact he had not only on basketball players but athletes and non-athletes all over the world, I think that tells you what type of person he was.
“Not just on the court but off it as well. He helped a lot of people. For us to be part of something like that before the game was really meaningful. I’m glad we did something really nice before the game and we were also able to win that game for him. It’s one of those that I’ll always remember.”
Hernández now is wearing No. 8 after getting traded back to the Dodgers, partly in tribute to Bryant.
When did Kobe Bryant go to Dodger Stadium?
During his 20-year career with the Lakers, Bryant regularly showed support for the Dodgers by attending games.
Bryant notably threw out the first pitch in the summer of 2000 after winning his first championship with the Lakers, and most recently attended Game 4 of the 2018 World Series.
He met with Dodgers players in the clubhouse before the game and memorably celebrated Yasiel Puig’s key home run.
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