On the second night of a series against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers honored Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with a Lakers Night promotion.
According to Sports Illustrated, Vanessa and Natalia Bryant threw out the ceremonial pitch on Sept. 1. The Dodgers also sold a special package entitled ticket holders to a commemorative Kobe Bryant Dodgers jersey. Ahead of the game, Dodgers players like MVP candidate Mookie Betts wore shirts, shoes, and jerseys featuring Bryant. The team posted some of the player’s pre-game looks on its official Instagram account.
According to NBC Los Angeles, six-year-old Bianka and four-year-old Capri joined Natalia and Vanessa Bryant as they approached the mound for Natalia’s ceremonial first pitch. They all wore custom Dodgers jerseys, with the back of Vanessa Bryant’s jersey reading Queen Mamba, a take on Kobe’s “Black Mamba” moniker. Rob Pelinka, the Lakers GM, also attended the game for Lakers Night.
Both teams lined up along the first and third baselines while the crowd rained down chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” Shortly before Natalia Bryant threw out the first pitch, fans and the family were treated to a slideshow of the Lakers legend visiting the Dodgers clubhouse and dugout. Kobe also threw out a first pitch at a Dodgers game in 2000. The family watched the game from the owners’ box, and the Dodgers made a $100,000 donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the emotional lift that the family provided couldn’t help them win as they dropped game two of the four-game series with Atlanta 6-3. The Dodgers could not overcome three home runs the Braves launched into the Los Angeles night sky and a dominant performance from Max Fried. The Braves and Dodgers will continue their series on Sept. 2.