Over the weekend, the world woke up to the sad news of the tragic death of legendary basketball icon Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers legend was killed in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.
Both basketball and non-basketball fans mourn the loss of the 18-time NBA All-Star, who did not just take the Lakers to five championships but also servesd as a great husband, father and friend to many.
If losing the 41-year-old retired athlete in a snap is a heavy feeling for the whole world, imagine how hard it would be for his dear friends like fellow NBA star LeBron James.
It could be recalled that LeBron weeped after learning about Kobe's tragic death. There is also a viral video showing the 35-year-old power forward crying as he walked out of the Lakers plane in the wake of the news.
On Monday, King James finally broke his silence and took his emotions on Instagram to write a heartfelt tribute to the man who is not just a teammate to him, but also a brother and an inspiration
"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!" LeBron began in his post.
The Lakers star shared that he just heard Kobe's voice on the Sunday morning of the crash, before heading back to Los Angeles. Little did he know that it would be the last conversation he will have with the man he idolizes.
"WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!! Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids." LeBron added while putting multiple sad and broken heart emojis.
View this post on InstagramI’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! 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!! #Mamba4Life️ #Gigi4Life️ A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jan 27, 2020 at 6:43pm PST
LeBron then pledged to step in Kobe's role and carry the enormous responsibility he left for the Lakers Nation.
"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!" LBJ added with a purple and yellow heart emoji.
In the end, LeBron asked his ball-brother to give him strength and guide him as he continues his legacy in the world of basketball. The King ended his heartfelt message by saying, "Until we meet again, my brother!"
LeBron penned the emotional tribute to Kobe alongside a series of photos of their most candid moments on and off the hardcourt, along with a fan artwork and a screenshot of Kobe's last Twitter post giving him a shout out.
LeBron and Kobe's friendship could be traced back more than a decade ago. They started as competitors from different NBA teams for years and became teammates after joining Team USA for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
View this post on InstagramOn to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next. A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Jan 25, 2020 at 8:18pm PST
Their brotherhood grew stronger when LeBron joined the Lakers in 2018. Even though Kobe already retired in 2016, he continuously supports the team and watches their game with her aspiring basketball player daughter, Gianna.
Despite fans comparing Kobe and LeBron, they continue to uplift each other, which is evident to Kobe's last social media post congratulating Kobe for surpassing his all-time NBA scoring list.