'For Kobe': LeBron James, Vanessa Bryant, and more honor late star after Lakers' NBA championship win
The Lakers took home the NBA championship against the Miami Heat on Sunday, and while the spotlight shone on LeBron James and his teammates, the winning players and Lakers fans made sure one name wasn't forgotten amid the celebrations — Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers legend, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others in January, made his presence felt tonight as Angelenos took to the streets chanting his name.
And after the game, James and other Lakers like Anthony Davis spoke about why they wanted to win for Bryant, who led the team to five championships in his career.
"We got as close as you possibly can be, when that moment happened," James said about the team following Bryant's tragic passing. "It brought the whole basketball world close as well, but when you're internal and it hits home, it just means that much more and we locked in from that very moment and said, 'This is bigger than us.'"
Davis also said the Lakers wanted to honor Bryant with a win.
"Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him," Davis said. "I know he's looking down on us proud of us. I know Vanessa's proud of us, the organization's proud of us. It means a lot to us. It's a tough moment, man. He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him"
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's widow, was indeed proud of the team. On her Instagram Story, she posted an old photo of her late husband and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka, writing, "Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @Lakers Kobe was right RP 'stay the course- block out the noise' - @kobebryant."
"Wish Kobe and Gianna were here to see this," she added.
Celebrity fans, like Kerry Washington and Hair Love director Matthew A. Cherry, also tweeted about Bryant's impact on the game.
"I’d like to think Kobe and Gigi played a part in this win," the Little Fires Everywhere star tweeted.
"They did it for Kobe," Cherry wrote.
Since Bryant's death, his former team has honored the star on numerous occasions. When the playoffs began in July, the Lakers brought back their "Black Mama" uniforms and added a No. 2 patch in memory of Gianna, who wore the number when she played at Mamba Sports Academy. Bryant designed the uniforms following his retirement from the NBA in 2016.
Here are more celebrity reactions: