LA Galaxy Honored Kobe Bryant With A Jersey Patch In Their First Home Match Of The Season

The MLS season officially kicked off in late February but the Los Angeles Galaxy used the first home game of the 2020 campaign to pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. The Galaxy wore tribute patches for Bryant on their jerseys against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, a 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps on a Tosaint Ricketts goal in the 74th minute.

Team captain Jonathan Dos Santos also wore a similar patch which was embroidered on his captain’s armband for the game. Prior to the game, the Galaxy’s newest signing, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, donned a black hooded sweatshirt with Bryant’s numbers embroidered on the front and sleeves. He later shared a message on Instagram in memory of Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who also died in the helicopter crash that killed Bryant and eight others.

Bryant was a known supporter of Major League Soccer, even telling ESPN in January that Chicharito joining the LA team would be beautiful for the league.

Fans of LAFC, the other team in LA, unveiled a large tifo of Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, with the words, “Kobe & Gigi Forever,” before the team’s Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 game on Feb. 27. During that game and in the games since, LAFC captain Carlos Vela has worn an armband with the names of the victims of the fatal helicopter crash along with Bryant’s initials and numbers.

Although Bryant made his name as a basketball legend, spending 20 years with the LA Lakers and winning five NBA titles, he was also a massive soccer fan and even worked to support the growth of MLS over the years. He grew up in Italy as a supporter of AC Milan and following his retirement in 2016, he became a public supporter of the United States Women’s National Team.