Kobe Bryant, the 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career all with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. He was 41.
Bryant inspired a generation of basketball players worldwide with sublime skills and unquenchable competitive fire.
Incidentally, the night before the accident, LeBron James had surpassed Bryant’s spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list during the match against Philadelphia 76ers.
Responding James’ feat, Bryant’s last public statement was a tweet which read: “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644”. Bryant also includes the hashtag “#33644,” referring to the number of points needed to beat his own record that James scored. As of now, it has gathered more than 2 million likes.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Last night, LeBron James recognized that passing Bryant in total points was a tremendous achievement, and he decided to honor the occasion and Kobe’s greatness by writing a special message to the Mamba on his sneakers for the game.
— ESPN (@espn) January 26, 2020
LeBron talking about how Kobe inspired him, 15 hours before Kobe died. pic.twitter.com/LvpnLKOCEi
— Joel Fischer (@JFNYC1) January 26, 2020
In this video, James can be seen in Los Angeles where he walks slowly and with a bowed head, a bag hanging limply from his hand, before stopping to receive a long, consoling embrace.
LeBron James and the Lakers found out about Kobe Bryant’s death while on their team plane flying home from Philadelphia today after playing the Sixers last night @6abc #KobeForever #KobeRIP #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/3XkWOGDSDj
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) January 27, 2020
Kobe Bryant, earned Los Angeles’ eternal adoration during his two decades as the fierce soul of the beloved Lakers, and he was respected by basketball fans from every place with a hoop and a dream, including his native Philadelphia and in Italy, his other childhood home.
James ‘heartbroken and devastated’ about Bryant’s death
A “heartbroken and devastated” LeBron James addressed the death of Kobe Bryant on Monday night in his first public statement since the helicopter crash that took the life of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.
In a post on Instagram, James recounted how he talked to fellow Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant early Sunday. He passed Bryant to move into third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Saturday night in Philadelphia.
“Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have,” James wrote.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter died later Sunday morning in the crash in Calabasas, Calif.
View this post on Instagram
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! 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!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾
“I’m Not Ready but here I go,” James began his post. “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!”
He continued: “Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to (wife) Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation.”
View this post on Instagram
The Lakers were scheduled to meet the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night at the Staples Center. The game has been postponed.
With Agency inputs
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