LeBron James Releases Heartbreaking Statement Following Kobe Bryant's Death

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
John McCoy/Getty

LeBron James speaks out for the first time after the death of his friend, fellow NBA great Kobe Bryant

On Sunday, the world lost NBA great Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and a group of fellow basketball parents, players, coaches, and the craft’s pilot. The heartbreaking tragedy has reverberated throughout the sports and entertainment world with countless famous names posting their thoughts and grief all over social media. One voice remained silent until last night — Bryant’s close friend and fellow NBA star LeBron James has now released a statement in the wake of his friend’s death that will have you in tears.

“I’m Not Ready but here I go,” he writes. “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.”

He shared his poignant words alongside photos of the two players, including one of them when they both played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“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!” he continues.

James talked about his duty to keep up Bryant’s legacy on their shared team. “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!” he writes.

He closed out his tribute with a heartbreaking goodbye. “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!!”

Both Bryant’s final tweet and Instagram post were dedicated to celebrating James, as he had just surpassed Bryant to become the third-highest point scorer in NBA history.

According to BuzzFeed, the Lakers found out about Bryant’s death while on a plane back to Los Angeles. Cameras captured James exiting the plane and being comforted on the tarmac.

As the tributes continue to pour in, it’s clear that Bryant had a lasting effect on so many, but the eight other lives lost are just as heartbreaking. The helicopter was also carrying Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

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