The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has added a new piece to the “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field,” gallery, Kobe Bryant’s Game 5 NBA Finals jersey from 2008.
“We wanted to be able to share his impact,” Damion Thomas, the Smithsonian’s sports curator, said via the Los Angeles Times. “It really is about the cultural significance of basketball as an expression of the African American fight for greater rights.”
The Bryant family helped fund the museum, so for them to have memorabilia of the Hall of Fame player, is nice to see.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna were two of nine people to lose their lives in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.
The Bryants donated over $1 million to the museum, including a pair of shoes worn in an NBA Finals game.
“Kobe’s contributions on and off the court are remarkable,” Spencer Crew, interim director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said. “As a founding donor, he understood the significance of this museum to the nation and the world. After postponing the March installation due to COVID-19, we believe now is the perfect moment in history to honor his memory by placing his jersey on view.”
The museum put together a video of the jersey going up and plans to continue honoring Kobe’s legacy.