One of the biggest narratives in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship was that they did it to honor the legacy of the late Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away last January. Former Laker Derek Fisher believes that the LeBron James-led team definitely embodied what Mamba Mentality is all about on their way to the franchise’s 17th championship banner.

In an interview with Tomer Azarly, Fisher lauded the current Lakers organization for using Kobe’s death as an inspiration without the need to sensationalize it every chance they could.

“Not being right next to those guys in Orlando, I’m not speaking from direct experience, but I can tell from the things that they said in their interviews, the way they spoke of it, I think Frank Vogel’s leadership in that regard was off the charts. I think finding a way to utilities it as motivation in the right way and I think it was clear that it did mean something to those players on the team this year,” the Lakers icon said.

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“They didn’t overhype it and I think take away the seriousness of what it meant to lose him, but I do believe they held on to his memory and legacy in the right way. I think it helped him at times. Obviously just some observations, but those guys, they spoke to it themselves quite a bit and I think they were able to find some positives and being able to hold onto what he meant to all of us.”

Derek Fisher, of course, is one of Kobe Bryant’s most trusted allies after sharing the Lakers backcourt with him for 13 seasons. Bryant took it upon himself to forge a bond with the current players of the team in the months leading to his untimely demise. His rare but impactful visits at Staples Center upon retirement always gave the team a boost to perform at their best.

While the loss of Bryant is indeed one of the biggest tragedies in sports, Fisher is delighted that the Purple and Gold gave him the most fitting tribute there is this season.