LeBron James Breaks His Silence on Death of Kobe Bryant

LeBron James has broken his silence on the untimely death of a fellow basketball legend and friend, Kobe Bryant, as well as Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. On Monday night, James took to social media with his largely emotional tribute to Bryant stating that every time he began writing his posts, “I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!”

The Los Angeles Lakers were on their way home Sunday morning after a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers when the news of the helicopter crash broke. The team was met with the somber news when they landed. James and fellow team members were spotted in an emotional state, wiping tears from their eyes and embracing each other.

It was just 12 hours before the tragic accident when James surpassed Bryant in the record of most points scored of all time, moving into third place. In a post-game interview, with admiration in his eyes, James spoke very highly of Bryant, going on to recount stories of their friendship through the years starting when James looked up to Bryant, longing to be a professional basketball player. In 2001, Bryant was a guest at ABCD Basketball Camp, a camp that allowed the top high school players across the country to train with one another. James was one of the students at the time and recalled Bryant giving some advice, “If you want to be one of the greatest, you gotta put the work in.”

Courtesy: Tim Shelby on Wikimedia Commons

Though James and Bryant never played on the same NBA team, the two competed in several All-Star games against one another. The two superstars went on to play with one another on the USA basketball team, winning a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and again in the 2012 Olympics. The pair also starred (kind of) in a Nike campaign where James and Bryant were portrayed as puppets, dubbed “Nike MVPuppets” in the late 2000s. The puppets took on James and Bryant’s personas where plots typically centered around some light-hearted, trash-talking banter between the two. The commercials garnered many views and positive reception, such that the campaign released an additional three commercials in 2017 when the Lakers honored Bryant and retired both jersey number eight and jersey number 24, the two numbers Bryant wore during his career.

Several players in the NBA, as well as fans of the beloved sport, have called to retire number 24, the last jersey Bryant wore, league-wide. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, announced that the franchise will be retiring number 24, stating, “Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick."

The NBA released a statement on the night of Jan. 27 stating that the Lakers vs. Clippers game originally scheduled to take place Jan. 28 would be postponed in wake of Bryant’s death. Bryant spent 20 years as a Laker and never played for another NBA team, something that is nearly unheard of in professional basketball.

After sending his condolences to Vanessa, Bryant’s wife and family, James assures Bryant, “I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man!”

You can watch James carry out that promise with his teammates on Friday, Jan. 31 against the Portland Trailblazers.

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!