Anthony Davis Says The Lakers Are Playing For Kobe Bryant

Davis wore a shirt to honor Kobe Bryant after the Lakers' 110-100 win in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Thursday.
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Anthony Davis wore a shirt to honor Kobe Bryant after the Lakers' 110-100 win in Game 4 of their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Houston Rockets on Thursday. 

The shirt had the acronym GOAT (greatest of all time) written at the top, along with an illustration of Bryant wearing five NBA championship rings and the years he won them. 

Davis said Bryant is always on his mind. 

"I think not just me, but the entire team thinks about him all the time," said Davis, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds. "I mean, we say ‘Mamba on three’ after every timeout, every huddle, knowing that he’s with us and knowing that we’re not only playing for our organization, but playing for him."

The Lakers, who have a 3-1 series lead, are one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010, when Bryant won his fifth and final title with the team. 

Davis wanted mark the moment by honoring Bryant. 

"Guys have their own little things that they do, you know, rituals or whatever to remember him," Davis said. "Yeah, I mean, we think about him all the time. I, for sure, think about him all the time on and off the floor. But I just thought this was a dope shirt. I think the whole team got them sent to us. It’s just another thing to remember him by, to be honest."

Bryant became a mentor to Davis during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Davis, then 19, wasn't afraid to ask him questions. And Bryant admired his passion and curiosity.

After Bryant died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, Davis was devastated. He honored him by getting a tattoo on his thigh of a black mamba snake coiled around a shield. 

"Man this is a tough one for me!" Davis wrote on Instagram after the crash. "You were the first guy to put me under your wing and show me the ins and outs of the league. Had so many great convos about so many things and I will cherish those moments forever. Love you forever, Bean! #RIPKobe #RIPGiGi 😔"

During the resumed NBA season at Walt Disney World, the Lakers have twice worn special "Black Mamba" jerseys to honor Bryant. 

When they wore them on the 24th day of the eighth month in honor of Bryant's jersey Nos. 8 and 24, the score at one point in the first quarter of their first-round playoff game against Portland was 24-8

LeBron James took that as a sign. 

"He’s here in the building," James said.   

And on Aug. 4, Davis became the first player since Bryant to have 20 games in which he scored 20 or more first-half points. The Lakers clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in that game for the first time since Bryant helped the franchise accomplish that 10 years ago. 

Davis was deeply moved. 

"I just got chills,” he said in an on-court postgame interview with ESPN. “It’s tough just talking about him, but to be in a category with him means a lot. I know he’s looking down on us and cheering us on. We want to do it for him. It’s an honor to even be mentioned with his name.”