LeBron James 'Honored' to Play on Mamba Day and Remember Kobe, Gianna Bryant

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives downcourt against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

LeBron James was dominant while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 135-115 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, and he was "honored" to do so while playing for Kobe and Gianna Bryant on Aug. 24 (8/24).

"Extremely blessed and honored to be able to play on 8/24 and continue to remember Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant and all the fallen people that was a part of that tragic incident," he said during a postgame interview on TNT.


.@KingJames discusses playing on Kobe Bryant Day and calls for social justice after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. https://t.co/nxJRe90PmS

After the game, which saw the Lakers leading 24-8 at one point, James said it felt as though Bryant was "in the building" with the team:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

"When I looked up there and saw 24-8 I was like 'okay, he's here in the building.'" @KingJames (30 PTS, 10 AST, 6 REB) on what it meant to him to play on Mamba Day in a #Lakers uniform. https://t.co/HMneCtpDqT

Bryant notably wore Nos. 8 and 24 during his playing career, and the Lakers honored him on Mamba Day by wearing Black Mamba City Edition jerseys.

Bryant, Gianna and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.

James gave an emotional speech to the Staples Center crowd before the Lakers' game on Jan. 31, which was their first contest after Bryant's death and also came against the Trail Blazers.

Los Angeles was impressive while honoring the Hall of Famer on Monday and never looked back after jumping out to a 15-0 lead. James led the way with 30 points, 10 assists and six rebounds while hitting 10 of 12 shots from the field and four of five shots from three-point range in an efficient performance.

The Purple and Gold are now up 3-1 in the series and will look to close Portland out in Wednesday's Game 5.