Kobe-Inspired City Uniforms Tip Off Lakers' Lore Series
For 20 years, Kobe Bryant defined the Lakers’ style of play. This season, he designed their style.
Bryant — whose numbers were retired by the franchise in December — was instrumental in the design of the team’s City Edition uniforms.
The black threads feature a snakeskin print in reference to Bryant’s nickname, “The Black Mamba.”
Nike's art director for NBA uniforms, Ben Montoya, said the black uniforms stem from the attack of an actual black mamba snake.
"The first and last thing you see when the black mamba strikes is the black lining inside of its mouth," Montoya said. "That's why we had to go black."
Even the minute details are Kobe-inspired.
The drop-shadowed numbers are call-backs to the uniforms the Lakers wore during his rookie year. Beneath the leg flap of the shorts are the numbers he wore in his 20-year career: 8 and 24.
The Lakers will wear these eight times during the 2018-19 season, marking the debut of the team’s “Lore Series” of uniforms.
"The Lakers have been able to create their own path in regards to City Edition," Montoya said. "You're gonna see more of a progression with this, more in connection to their identity."
Each year, Nike will have one franchise legend design a set of unis for the Lakers. The first was Bryant, whose connection with the city of Los Angeles is most prevalent on the jersey’s belt buckle.
There sits a staggered No. 24, partially highlighted in gold to form an interlocking “LA.”
In addition, the uniforms feature a nod to the Lakers' championship legacy: Sixteen starts run down the sides of the shorts — one for each title won by the franchise.