To honor Kobe Bryant's first game back from an Achilles injury, the Lakers began their player introductions with an extended video that warned "Beware the Mamba" before playing the "Imperial March" -- Darth Vader's theme song from "Star Wars" -- when it was time for Bryant's name to be called.
The Staples Center went dark for a video presentation that was beamed onto a screen that was hanging down from the scoreboard. As footage of Bryant and his Lakers teammates rolled, a series of messages appeared on the screen -- "Smoldering Within," "Just One Spark," "To Set Ablaze," "Beware The Smoke," "Beware The Flame," "Beware The Inferno," and "Beware The Mamba" -- before the screen dropped so that introductions could begin.
After the other four Lakers starters were introduced, the "Imperial March" kicked in as Bryant walked out slowly to shake hands and high-five his teammates.
The NBA and legendary coach Phil Jackson welcomed Bryant's return earlier Sunday after Bryant first announced in a Facebook video on Friday that he was ready to debut against the Raptors.
Bryant finished with nine points (on 2-for-9 shooting), eight rebounds, four assists and eight turnovers in 28 minutes during a 106-94 loss to the Raptors. L.A. fell to 10-10 on the season with the loss. Toronto improved to 7-12 with the win.