Vlad Guerrero Jr. grew up watching his father play for the Angels in Los Angeles. But there was another Hall of Famer playing in LA that little Vladdy also watched very closely.
As the Blue Jays take on the Angels this week in Los Angeles, Vlad Jr. will pay tribute to his childhood hero, the late great Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and his daughter Gianna, by wearing these specially designed crampons during the games.
Vlad Jr pays homage to Kobe and Gianna this week with two pairs of @ jumpman23 crampons. Both pairs feature hand painted portraits and after the series a pair will be sent to Vanessa Bryant pic.twitter.com/EVBZeoMbkR
– Jordan Custom Kicks (@mikejordan_art) August 10, 2021
The Jumpman23 cleats were hand painted by New Jersey artist Michael Jordan (yes, that’s his name, but no, not this Michael Jordan). Vladdy came to him with the request in June and had been thinking about a way to pay tribute to Kobe for a year.
Like the history of TMZ illustrates, there are two different designs. The black and white Jordans feature solo photos of dad and daughter on each shoe, with their nicknames “Mamba” and “Mambacita”.
The “Purple Lakers” version has pictures of Kobe and Gigi together on each shoe, one image is of Kobe celebrating the 2009 Championship with his daughter, and the other was from 2019 when they appeared together at a football match. Lakers.
Vladdy plans to give Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant a pair after the series, according to TMZ.
Guerrero Jr. was five when his father joined the Angels in 2004, and for five years as a young child in Los Angeles, he understandably became a huge basketball fan and, by extension, a Lakers fan. The Guerreros were still in Los Angeles when Kobe and the Lakers won the NBA Championship in 2009. Vladdy was 10 years old.
In a report On young Guerrero of 2019, The Ringer noted that he “grew up loving Kobe Bryant.” Now Vlad Jr. shares this love for everyone; the shoes even include an inscription of Beyonce’s lyrics, “Your love is shining like never before.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr pays homage to Kobe and Gigi this week with two custom baseball cleats (by mikejordan_artist)
One pair contains Beyoncé’s XO lyrics 🙏 pic.twitter.com/n3YSfJP0B1
– Locations of Kobe and Gianna murals (@kobemurals) August 10, 2021
The Blue Jays begin a four-game series in Anaheim against the Angels with a double-scheduled Tuesday.