Bryant’s game-worn jersey will remain on display for at least a year.
The Black Mamba’s jersey has finally gone up at the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The jersey, which Kobe Bryant wore during Game Five of the 2008 NBA Finals, the year he won the league’s MVP award, went on display in the “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field” gallery on Thursday, October 15. Bryant’s shirt is now on view next to a pair of LeBron James 15 “Equality” sneakers by Nike.
Bryant served as a founding donor for the NMAAHC, The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation contributed at least $1 million to NMAAHC. The basketball star urged his Twitter followers to visit the museum when it first opened back in 2016. “There is no greater testament to this country than the stories in this building,” he twitted. Bryant later donated his 2008 game-worn jersey to the museum in 2017.
“Kobe’s contributions on and off the court are remarkable,” said Spencer Crew, interim director of the NMAAHC in a press release. “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.”
For those unable to visit the museum, Bryant’s jersey can be viewed online along with more information on his career.
The NMAAHC is currently operating at limited capacity and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will be limited to 1,100 per day and will require a timed-entry pass to enter the museum. You can get your tickets on the museum’s website.
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[Featured image: Robert Stewart, courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture]