LeBron James has posted an emotional tribute to fellow NBA great Kobe Bryant following his death.
James took to Instagram to express his feelings after Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles hills on Sunday.
“I’m not ready but here I go. 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,” James wrote.
“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 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!!
“Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!!”
— ESPN5 (@Sports5PH) January 28, 2020
The NBA’s pre-game tributes to Bryant continued on Monday.
After the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns sent the opening tip against the Sacramento Kings to teammate Andrew Wiggins, Wiggins placed the ball on the free-throw line as the team took an 8-second violation.
It was at that line where Bryant made two free throws in 2014 to pass Michael Jordan and move to No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
The night before Bryant died, the Lakers’ LeBron James passed Bryant to claim the No. 3 slot.
In Detroit, the Pistons opened the first game of the day by taking the floor during warm-ups in jerseys with 8 and 24 on them – the two numbers Bryant played in – and the name “BRYANT” on the back.
After wearing them during 24 seconds of silence, the teams traded 24- and 8-second violations to start the game, similar to what teams did on Sunday after learning of Bryant’s death.
The Cavaliers’ Larry Nance Jr, a teammate with Bryant as a rookie in 2015-16, could been seen with tears in his eyes while sitting on the bench after the violations.
In Chicago, the Bulls took an 8-second violation to start the game and San Antonio returned the favor by taking a 24-second violation.
Dallas and Oklahoma City did the same in OKC as did Orlando and host Miami.
Also, Chris Paul sat out for the Thunder as he mourns the loss of Bryant. His absence, officially cited as personal reasons by the team, is his first missed game of the season.
Paul and Bryant grew close while playing on two Olympic teams together.
– with Reuters