While discussing the greatest NBA players in history, it’s almost impossible to not mention both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. While they never had a chance to play against each other in a championship, they were often considered the two best in the game during their time. The NBA giants shared a great respect for one another and a tight friendship, which included spending time with one another’s families.
After Bryant, 41, whom James referred to as “a brother,” died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California, on January 26—a tragic event that also caused the death of eight others, including one of Kobe and wife Vanessa Bryant‘s four daughters, Gianna, 13—King James and his family have been in mourning.
Like many who looked up to Bryant, his team of admirers included the children of his former teammates, and LeBron’s son, Bronny James, who’s a budding basketball star himself. The Sierra Canyon High School standout is only 15, but the 6-foot-2 baller has already been scouted by top schools like Kentucky and Duke.
While Bronny didn’t put into words what the loss of Kobe and Gianna meant to him, like Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant, he changed his profile picture on Instagram to the photo above, a picture of the beloved Black Mamba and his Mambacita.
The untimely passing of Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and the seven other victims has also deeply affected the city of Los Angeles and Black Mamba fans across the world. The devastating news has also become a deep time of reflection for those who knew Bryant best, including his family, friends and teammates.
Bronny’s Father LeBron James Posted An Emotional Tribute To Kobe & Gianna Bryant
While there’s never a right time to mourn the death of a close friend, LeBron took his time to process Sunday’s news that Kobe passed away in a helicopter crash before he released a public statement. It wasn’t until late on Monday that LeBron was able to put the words together to honor the fallen legend.
Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation
It’s easy to tell by the way the two athletes hugged that their bond was real and their friendship went way beyond saying “hi” when Bryant attended Lakers games. On January 31, James revealed a new tattoo he got inked to memorialize his buddy. Alongside a black snake with Bryant’s jersey No. 8 and No. 24, it reads “Mamba 4 Life” on his thigh.