The Los Angeles Lakers wore special "Black Mamba" jerseys to commemorate Kobe Bryant on Aug. 24 -- 8/24 on the calendar -- and forward Anthony Davis underlined they badly wanted to win Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Bryant, who wore numbers 8 and 24 during his career with the Lakers, helped the team win five championship. Bryant, one of the all time greats, tragically lost his life earlier this year in a helicopter crash. Davis scored 18 points, had five rebounds and five assists as the Lakers routed the Trail Blazers 135-115 to take a 3-1 lead.
"We just wanted to make sure that we did everything we could to get this win for him," Davis said, per ESPN.
LeBron James wanted to have a big performance for Bryant
The Lakers started the match with an early 24-8 lead and James believed it was a sign.
"When I looked up there and saw [the score was] 24-8, I was like, OK, this is a [sign]," James said. "He's here in the building." James was the best player on the floor in Game 4 as he scored a game-high 30 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out 10 assists.
"It was an honor," James said. "It's been an honor to just put on the Laker uniform. Even before the passing of the great Kobe Bryant. Tonight was another one of those moments for myself, for this organization, for all the players ...
To go out there one day removed from his birthday and then his day of 8/24, to be able to have a game on this day, the stars aligned." Rob Pelinka, the current Lakers general manager, was Bryant's agent and always close to the Bryant family.
Pelinka was happy that the Lakers put up a great performance against the Trail Blazers and that way paid their respect to team legend Bryant. "When we played Portland after the tragedy we played, understandably, with heavy hearts," Pelinka told ESPN.
"Tonight we were able to play with uplifted spirits to honor the beautiful lives of Kobe and Gigi. We played this game like they both played -- with a laser focus on the highest level of competition, and with a purpose of getting better.
"We are very grateful for that." Bryant led the Lakers to winning back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 and now James and Davis are aiming to help the team win their first title in a decade.