Mamba Forever. Or, in this case, Kobe & Gigi Forever.
That was at least what an LAFC tifo read before their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 second leg match against Club Leon on Thursday night, paying tribute to the deceased basketball star and his daughter.
They both passed away Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash alongside seven others in nearby Calabasas, Calif. In the weeks since, this was LAFC’s first competitive game at Banc of California Stadium.
The FS1 broadcast caught the moving moment, one that reminded the MLS community of Kobe’s love of soccer. Over the last month, tributes to Kobe and his daughter have sprouted across the sports world, with his unrelenting passion serving as a motivator that transcended his decades-long career with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.
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LAFC didn't just have a Kobe-inspired tifo, though. The captain's armband, as worn by Carlos Vela, sported Nos. 8 and 24 in honor of Kobe. It also included the name of every individual who passed away in the helicopter crash.
Kobe, a lifelong soccer fan, was used to wearing the Lakers' Purple and Gold. But on Thursday, the Black & Gold paid their respects.