- LeBron James felt the presence of late NBA icon Kobe Bryant during the Lakers’ big first-round playoff win against the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night.
- After Los Angeles took an early 24-8 lead on 8/24 – dubbed “Kobe Bryant Day” since it includes his two jersey numbers – James said he thought the late Lakers legend was “in the building” supporting his team.
- James’ 30-point, 10-assist performance was the first by a Lakers player in the playoffs since Bryant dropped 38 and 10 in May of 2010.
- “It’s a beautiful, beautiful night for our franchise and something we will always remember – this moment,” James said after the game.
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The Los Angeles Lakers won big in their first-round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night.
But according to LeBron James, something more powerful than luck may have been on the Lakers’ side in the 135-115 win.
After Los Angeles took an early 24-8 lead on 8/24 – dubbed ‘Kobe Bryant Day’ since the date encapsulates the Black Mamba’s two jersey numbers from his time in the NBA – James said he thought the late Lakers legend was “in the building” supporting his team.
“When I looked up and saw we were up 24-8, I was like, ok, he’s here in the building,” James said after the game. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful night for our franchise and something we will always remember – this moment.”
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— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 25, 2020
On Monday, the franchise took multiple steps to honour Bryant and his daughter, Gigi Bryant, who both died alongside seven others in a tragic helicopter accident back in January. Kobe Bryant’s initials and Gigi Bryant’s jersey number were featured prominently on the boards next to the court, and Lakers players wore “Black Mamba” jerseys with a patch honouring Gigi Bryant.
James also arrived at the arena in Orlando, Florida, wearing a jersey with the number eight on the front and Bryant’s name and later-career number 24 on the back.
“I’m extremely blessed and honoured to play on 8/24,” James said after the game. “And to continue to remember Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant and all the fallen people that were apart of that tragic incident.”
In addition to securing the win, James managed to honour Bryant on the court with a standout individual performance. He recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds, making him the first Lakers player to record such a stat line since Bryant dropped 38 and 10 in May of 2010.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) August 25, 2020
James and the Lakers will look to close out their series against the Trail Blazers Wednesday at 9 p.m. With a win, Los Angeles will move on to face the winner of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder series, which is currently knotted at two games apiece.
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