It was a conversation James will remember forever, but he’s been struggling with the fact that it was the last one he would have with Bryant.
“It’s not a great memory because it’s the last one,” James told reporters after the Lakers win against the Kings on Saturday. “When the moment happens, got the opportunity to talk to him, it’s amazing (for) us to just be able to have a great conversation and talk about things. But for me to always think about it, it’s not a great memory because it was the last one, if you understand that.”
The Lakers expect to have reminders all season of Bryant’s passing.
“We can expect that probably for the rest of the year, some type of tribute or something honoring him,” Lakers All-Star forward Anthony Davis told The Athletic. “Knowing that he’s with us, whether they don’t or whether they do. Knowing he’s with us as long as Laker Nation is alive.”
LeBron James Gives Emotional Tribute to Kobe Bryant
After finding out about the death of Bryant and eight others — including Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gigi — James and the Lakers have tried to find way to cope with the news, rallying around the emotion. Before their first game following the news, James gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd at Staples Center.
“They asked me to stay on course or whatever the case may be, but Laker nation, I would be selling y’all short if I read off this [expletive]. I’m going to go straight from the heart.
The first thing that came to mind, man, is all about family. As I look around this arena, we’re all grieving. We’re all hurt. We’re all heartbroken. But when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family. And from Sunday morning all the way to this point — and I’ve heard about Laker Nation before I got here last year, about how much of a family it is — and that’s absolutely what I’ve seen this whole week. Not only from the players, not only from the coaching staff, not only from the organization, but from everybody. Everybody that’s here, this is really, truly, truly a family. … So in the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba out.’ But in the words of us, ‘Not forgotten.’ Live on, brother.”
James also got a new tattoo to remember his fallen friend, reading “Mamba 4 Life,” putting a reminder on his skin of what Bryant did for him personally and for the NBA community in general.
Kyle Kuzma: Basketball Helping Lakers Cope
There are a variety of ways the Lakers are getting through the tough time, but Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma shared that the sport of basketball is helping the team get through.
“That’s what basketball is for. A lot of us grew up in challenging neighborhoods, tough environments, tough family backgrounds,” Kuzma said, via Mike Trudell. hen you step in between the lines, it’s a safe haven. It was for me growing up. Still is.”