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Late Great Kobe Bryant’s Unusual Custom Before Iconic 2002 NBA Finals Series Deserves a Deep Revisit

Before the NBA Finals in 2002, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant did paid homage to four different sportspersons. While certain quirks and superstitions are a part of almost every sportsperson’s life, Bryant’s custom was also a tribute to four legends of different sports. Bryant also led his team LA Lakers to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Nets. So perhaps, the custom worked after all.

In an Instagram post by LeagueFits, Bryant is seen in four different photographs with four different jerseys put on. Before the 4-0 win over the Nets, Bryant donned the jerseys of each of those four sportsmen in every match leading up to the finals.

Kobe Bryant donned the jerseys of four sporting legends from different sports

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The 4 iconic jerseys that Bryant donned were a Chicago Bulls jersey number 23, a New York Jets jersey number 12, an Edmonton Oilers jersey number 99, and a LA Dodgers jersey number 42. Which translated to Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Wayne Gretzky, and Jackie Robinson, respectively.

The LeagueFits Instagram post read, “before each game of the 2002 NBA finals, a clean 4-0 sweep, Kobe Bryant donned the threads of a champion athlete from four different sports: Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Wayne Gretzky, and Jackie Robinson”. Whether it was a tribute or a superstition, Bryant never explicitly mentioned. But whatever it was, it worked.

The LA Lakers not only won that season but dominated throughout. The 2002 NBA season was particularly noteworthy for the New York Knicks missing the playoffs on a rare occasion (the first time in 15 years).

The 2002 NBA season breakdown and Kobe Bryant’s role in it

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The Lakers started their first-round win by thumping Portland Trail Blazers 3-0 with Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal leading the points. Continuing their dominating run, they won their conference semi-finals against San Antonio Spurs 4-1. They then won their final hurdle before their finals i.e. conference finals against Sacramento Kings 4-3, and eventually reached the finals to beat the Nets 4-0.

April 08, 2020: FILE: KOBE BRYANT has been posthumously elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Bryant along with eight others was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, officials announced. Tim Duncan, the longtime San Antonio Spurs forward, and ex-Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will also be inducted. PICTURED: May 04, 2010, Los Angeles, California, USA: Los Angeles Lakers KOBE BRYANT 24 competes for a loose ball against Utah Jazz during Game 2 of a second-round NBA, Basketball Herren, USA basketball playoff series. The Lakers won 111-103. Kobe Bryant Posthumously Elected to Basketball Hall of Fame – ZUMAc68_ 20100504_ryn_c68_051 Copyright: xRingoxChiux

Along with Boston Celtics, the LA Lakers are the most successful team (17 championships) in NBA history. However, it was the particular allure of the era of Kobe Bryant that made that championship special. Bryant’s love for jerseys was also evident when he designed the Mamba jersey.

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WATCH THIS STORY – Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard – All The Coaches And Players Shaquille O’Neal Had Fewds With 

Bryant sadly passed away along with his daughter Gianna Bryant in a helicopter crash in 2020. But his memories and legacy live on forever.


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