The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers are battling in a three-game set at Dodger Stadium this week, and Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. is using the series as a chance to honor Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant.
Fernando Tatis Jr. to wear custom Air Jordan Kobe tribute shoes for Padres series against the Dodgers this week.
Cleats have 4,750 crystals, which were carefully placed one by one.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 11, 2023
The first game of the Padres-Dodgers series took place on Monday, with San Diego earning a wild win by a final score of 11-8. The Padres scored four runs in the final inning to help secure the win. Tatis went 1-for-5 and scored a run.
The 24-year-old is having a solid season in his first year back after missing the entire 2022 campaign due to multiple issues, including a PED suspension. In 124 games this season, he’s batting .257 with an OPS of .773 and 23 home runs.
Unfortunately for Tatis, his Padres barely have a pulse in the playoff race, as they’re eight games out of a postseason spot going into play on Tuesday. San Diego is several games under .500 at 68-77, a reality that has to be frustrating given the team’s surprisingly good run differential of +64.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, lead their division by 12 games and will likely win it without breaking a sweat. Once the playoffs come around, they will be looking to turn the page from last year’s postseason, when they were quickly eliminated by the Padres.
Tatis’ display of respect for Bryant is a unique and flashy one. The one-time All-Star is certainly hoping that he can draw enough inspiration from the Lakers legend to perhaps win a ring in the coming years.
The Dodgers and Padres have two more games remaining in their series, which will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. There is less than a month remaining in the MLB regular season, meaning teams like the Dodgers need to start mentally preparing for October baseball.
The Dodgers won the World Series in 2020, the same year the Lakers won the NBA Finals, in an emotionally complex year for the city of Los Angeles after Bryant’s tragic death. Clearly, his legacy is still impacting athletes today.