Lakers Look to Win Championship in Kobe Uniforms That Are Sold Out—For Now

The Lakers will try to clinch their 17th NBA championship while paying special tribute to one of the greatest playing to ever wear a Los Angeles uniform--by wearing his uniform.

The team will wear "Black Mamba" uniforms, which were styled for and by the late Kobe Bryant, in Game 5 on Friday against the Miami Heat. They've worn the uniforms throughout the playoffs in Game 2 match-ups, ostensibly in honor of Kobe's daughter Gianna, who died with him in the tragic helicopter accident in January. (Gianna wore No. 2 in her youth basketball games.)

LeBron James
LeBron James wearing a "Black Mamba" uniform on October 2 in Game Two of the NBA Finals. Getty

Just don't expect to pick up your own Black Mamba jersey to commemorate the moment--at least not yet. The NBA's Store, as well as Nike (the official supplier of the league's uniforms), are currently sold-out of the limited edition shirt. A customer service representative who spoke with Newsweek said there is "still no word on potential restock yet," but also added they'll do their best to re-launch the hot-selling item soon.

"It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of his blood, sweat and tears and his dedication to his craft, both on and off the floor, to make that franchise be proud of him, and hopefully vice versa," current Lakers star LeBron James said of the Black Mamba uniforms to ESPN.

Wearing the uniforms puts some added pressure on the team, given that they are 4-0 this postseason when wearing the Black Mamba gear. The Lakers lead the Miami Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, which means they could win the title tomorrow at Staples Center in Los Angeles, home to many memorable moments from the Black Mamba, a nickname Kobe created for his himself to help get through a turbulent period in 2003-2004. However, even if they lose their perfect post-season record with them, the Lakers will reportedly wear them again if the series goes to a Game 7, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

The alternate uniform is part of the "Laker Lore Series," which includes jerseys inspired by Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal. The Black Mamba uniform features a snakeskin print and drop shadows on the numbers. The uniforms debuted in 2017 and were more than inspired by Bryant--he was actively involved in its creation, from the special moisture-wicking material to the performance of the shorts' drawstrings.

Tim Harris, the Lakers president of business operations and chief operating officer, told The Athletic, "He wasn't just interested in, like, this is what I want the uniform to look like, this is how I want it to perform."

In an unfortunate coincidence, the Lakers first wore the Bryant-inspired uniform on Jan. 26, 2018, against the Chicago Bulls--two years to the day before his untimely death.

Kobe's widow, Vanessa, voice her approval of the team wearing the uniforms Friday night on her private Instagram account. She wrote, "Mamba and Mambacita jerseys approved for game 5. Let's go @lakers."