LeBron James Sends Message to Kobe Bryant After NBA Championship Win: Hope I 'Made You Proud'
LeBron James hopes that Kobe Bryant is watching over him.
Days after the Los Angeles Lakers secured the franchise's 17th NBA Championship, James paid tribute to the team's late icon, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January alongside his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people.
Sharing a photo of himself sitting next to a No. 24 Kobe jersey, James, 35, wrote, "Hope I’m made you proud my brother!! Love and miss you Champ!! 🐍💜💛 #BlackMamba 24•8•2❤️."
He also shared a collage of photos of himself and Kobe, as well as a January tweet in which James wrote, "I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!"
The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat on Sunday, 106 to 93, in the NBA Finals. It marked James' fourth NBA championship with his third team. He was also named Finals MVP for the fourth time in his career.
Following the Jan. 26 accident that killed Kobe, the Lakers have continually found ways to pay tribute to him. Once the playoffs began in July, the team brought back their "Black Mamba" uniforms for the first time since the 2017-2018 season, with the addition of a No. 2 patch in memory of Gianna, who wore the number while playing at the Mamba Sports Academy.
After the win on Sunday, Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, congratulated the team on her private Instagram account.
Posting an old photo of Kobe and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka on her Instagram Story, Vanessa wrote, "Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @Lakers Kobe was right RP 'stay the course- block out the noise' - @kobebryant."'
Vanessa added, "Wish Kobe and Gianna were here to see this."
James has been outspoken about Kobe and their relationship, calling him "a brother to me" while giving a moving tribute to the NBA legend ahead of a Lakers game shortly following Kobe's death.
He also showed off his love for Kobe in a more permanent way by getting a tattoo in tribute to the late athlete. James’ tattoo features a snake — a reference to Kobe’s “Black Mamba” nickname — and the late athlete’s jersey numbers, 8 and 24. The design also includes two roses as well as the words “Mamba 4 Life” inked below the black serpent.