Vin Scully posed a question to his viewers during a June 27, 2000 broadcast of the Dodgers-San Diego Padres game.
“Do you recognize this man?” the legendary Dodgers broadcaster asked while showing a clip from the ceremonial first pitch from earlier in the day.
The answer from practically every single Los Angeles sports fan watching the game: Of course!
It was Kobe Bryant — a “brilliant young basketball player,” as Scully described him during the broadcast, who had just won the first of his five NBA championships with the Lakers earlier that month.
Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, will be recognized in a different way at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 1. As part of the Dodgers’ annual Lakers Night, the team will be giving away special Dodgers jerseys honoring Bryant.
The front features “Dodgers” in the team’s familiar font with the No. 8 underneath it, signifying the jersey number Bryant wore for the first 10 seasons of his illustrious Laker career. The back says “Bryant” with the No. 24 below it, a nod to the jersey number he wore during his final 10 seasons in the league.
The jerseys, which appear to be inspired by the Black Mamba jerseys the Lakers wore during their 2020 championship run, are black with mamba scale markings and gold print and trim. They are not available stadium-wide during the Dodgers-Padres game, but only to fans who purchase a special event ticket package for that game.
As part of the special ticket package for Lakers Night last year, the Dodgers gave away a reversible jersey featuring the names and numbers of Clayton Kershaw and Magic Johnson.
That game was played on Aug. 24, which has come to be known as Mamba Day because of Bryant’s two jersey numbers and is also the day after his birth date. A video tribute to Bryant was shown that night, while fans at Dodger Stadium chanted his name.
The Dodgers play the Cleveland Guardians on the road Aug. 24 this season.