Honoring Kobe Bryant

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of a Basketball Icon

Kobe Bryant reacts while taking on the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals
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Bryant’s Lakers Jersey Is Now on Display

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is displaying basketball icon Kobe Bryant’s basketball jersey in the “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field” gallery, beginning Oct. 15. Bryant’s jersey will be on view next to a pair of LeBron James 15 “Equality” sneakers by Nike. (Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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Thank You, 
Kobe Bryant 

Kobe Bryant celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at the Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As a five-time NBA champion, Bryant earned the NBA MVP in 2008 and NBA Finals MVP awards in 2009 and 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent his entire NBA career. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to recognize the generosity of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation as a Founding Donor, a distinction indicating a commitment of $1 million or more to the Museum prior to its opening in 2016.

We are also proud to house Bryant’s uniform from the 2008 NBA Finals, the year he was named the league MVP, which he donated to the Museum after visiting in 2016. This jersey is now on display in the basketball room of the "Sports: Leveling the Playing Field” gallery.

  • Kobe Bryant sitting on a couch in a room in New York City.
    Kobe Bryant sitting on a couch in a room in New York City. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Walter Iooss.
  • Kobe Bryant scores during Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals.
    Kobe Bryant scores during Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals at the Staples Center on June 15, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Larry W. Smith/AFP via Getty Images.
  • Kobe Bryant views the "Sports: Leveling the Playing Field" gallery at NMAAHC Night at the Museum II, Sept 22, 2016.
    Kobe Bryant views the "Sports: Leveling the Playing Field" gallery at NMAAHC Night at the Museum II, Sept 22, 2016. NMAAHC/Tony Powell.

For a generation of people, Kobe Bryant was symbolic of excellence and it was an excellence that transcended the world of sports.

Damion Thomas Sports Curator

A Closer Look

Watch the installation of basketball icon Kobe Bryant’s basketball jersey in the “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field" gallery.

Staff from the National Museum of African American History and Culture prepare the Kobe Bryant jersey for installation in the section honoring African Americans’ contribution to the history of basketball. Bryant wore this important piece of basketball history during Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals, the year he won the league’s MVP award.

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Double Victory

From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, African Americans have served in the United States military. In defending their country, they hoped to earn freedom and citizenship and contribute to a changed America where racial equality was possible.
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Discover signature objects from the Museum's collection in honor of Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant

Features a sewn design on the back reading “Bryant/24” 
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Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant

Features a sewn design across the front reading “Lakers/24”
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Lebron James "Equality" basketball shoes, 2017

Lebron James "Equality" basketball shoes, 2017

Game-worn LeBron James 15 sneakers by Nike on view next Bryant’s jersey.
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Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers uniform worn for Game Five in 2008 NBA Finals by Kobe Bryant
Lebron James "Equality" basketball shoes, 2017

The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American.

LONNIE G. BUNCH III Founding Director, NMAAHC