Lakers lean heavily on appeal (and apparel) of Kobe Bryant

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES — The Lakers were in their baby blue and gold Minneapolis throwback uniforms again on Wednesday, but the bigger jersey news was the unveiling of a look they will don later in the season.Starting on Jan. 26 in Chicago, the Lakers will introduce a black uniform designed by retired star Kobe Bryant that is adorned with accents that honor one of the franchise’s legends – Kobe Bryant.The Lakers’ “City Edition” look from Nike features a snakeskin pattern with Bryant’s two jersey numbers – 8 and 24 – under the flaps of the shorts. The front of the waistband also features a 24, the digits connected in a way that they appear to say “L.A.”For a franchise trying to take steps into the future, the Lakers are leaning heavily on Bryant, who retired in 2016, to satiate fans. The announcement of the new uniforms came just nine days after Bryant became the first player in professional sports to have two jersey numbers retired by one team. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersLakers coach Luke Walton called the new look, which will be worn eight times, “awesome.” As a teammate of Bryant’s from 2003-12, Walton got a first-hand look at Bryant’s creative side. The snakeskin pattern is a nod to Bryant’s self-given alter-ego and nickname, the Black Mamba.“It’s got his own nice little touches,” Walton said. “I always thought he did a really good job, he was always heavily involved in the design with his own shoe, and I have always been a fan of those.“I think he does a really nice job with the subtleties of the jersey that was put together. I think it will be fun for the team and the fans.”center_img TENDING THE GOALWhen Phoenix beat Memphis on a last-second lob to Tyson Chandler on Tuesday night, Walton, like many in the NBA, had no idea what he had just seen.The lob, thrown by Dragan Bender, appeared to be on its way into the basket when Chandler slammed it home to secure the 99-97 victory against the team that would face the Lakers one night later. Suns interim coach Jay Triano used a little-known rule to his team’s advantage.Since an inbounds pass can’t be a shot, it also cannot be goal-tended.“In all honesty, I didn’t know that was a rule,” Walton said. “I would have been frustrated, but it was well-played by Phoenix.”Walton said he showed footage of the play in his team’s morning film session.“This is a copycat league,” he said, “and I’m sure a lot of coaches are putting that in their late-game playbook. We discussed what to do to defend that and it was a tough way to lose after they had that hard-fought comeback there in the fourth.”LOPEZ LOPESBrook Lopez made his return to the court on Wednesday, nine days after suffering a sprained right ankle in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.Three hours before the Lakers’ game against the Grizzlies, Lopez was on the court with assistant coach Mark Madsen, jogging lightly and shooting 3-pointers.Though Lopez appeared to be moving easily and without a noticeable limp, Walton said the timeline for the starting center’s return remains the same. He is expected to be re-evaluated around Jan. 9, three weeks after his initial diagnosis.“Last time I went and looked his ankle’s got color up and down it,” Walton said. “I knew he was going to shoot today, but shooting stationary jumpers and playing at this level and running up and down the court (are different).”last_img read more