Los Angeles FC fans paid tribute to Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant before Thursday's night's match against Club Leon before channeling Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" for a historic win. LAFC's supporter section, known as the 3252, unveiled a giant tifo with a photo recreation of Bryant and Gianna in purple and gold colors with the words "Kobe & Gigi Forever" underneath. Fans in the section also held up white cards against a purple background for Bryant's numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers, 8 and 24.
For Kobe and Gigi 🙏February 28, 2020
LAFC's Carlos Vela also wore a captain's armband with a tribute to the nine people who died in the helicopter crash outside of Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
During the Conacaf Champions League Round of 16 matchup at Banc of California stadium, LAFC pulled off an inspiring 3-0 victory to advance in the regional club tournament. That three-goal scoreline was significant because Club Leon won the first leg 2-0 in Mexico last Tuesday — so LAFC needed at least three unanswered goals to advance.
Vela scored twice and Diego Rossi came through with the dramatic game-winner.
The fan section's tifo tribute to Bryant and Gianna was met with praise on social media.
"I love LAFC," wrote Los Angeles Times sports columnist Arash Markazi wrote alongside a photo of the stunning display.
"That's beautiful," one Twitter user wrote.
"The vibe was electric.. and that help start it off!" another said.
"I still can't believe they are gone. Feels like it isn't real," someone else wrote.
Since the tragic helicopter crash, tributes have come in all different forms from those within the sports world. Among recent gestures include a special one-race-only NASCAR No. 24 Chevrolet car featuring a purple and gold paint scheme that will run this Sunday at the Auto Club 400 in Southern California.
On Monday, the Staples Center hosted a public memorial for Bryant and Gianna. Among the famous speakers were Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, University of Connecticut basketball player (and Bryant's mentee) Sabrina Ionescu, and WNBA player Diana Taurasi — although the most heartbreaking speech of all came from Vanessa Bryant, who paid tribute to her late husband and daughter.
"They were so easy to love. Everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure," Vanessa said through tears.
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together," she continued, before telling her late husband, "Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, BB and Koko. We're still the best team."
"We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always. Mommy."