James, 35, posted a video to his Instagram Stories on Wednesday, January 29, of him getting new ink courtesy of tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia. “It’s that time again,” the former Miami heat player wrote. “Working with my girl @nessaurelia!! Gang gang! 🤘🏾.”
The former Cleveland Cavaliers star broke his silence on Bryant’s passing via Instagram on Monday, January 27. He shared several photos of the duo, and noted how “heartbroken and devastated” he was after Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, died alongside seven others on Sunday, January 26.
“I’m Not Ready but here I go,” James began. “Man, I [sic] 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!!”
The Ohio-born athlete declared his “love” for his big bro, adding: “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 s–t on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here!”
Before the Pennsylvania native’s death, James surpassed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James currently sits in the No. 3 spot after accumulating 33,655 points, slightly beating Bryant’s record of 33,643 points. But the father-of-four only had praise for James’ achievement.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” the late athlete tweeted on Saturday, January 25. “Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644.”
Bryant died on Sunday at age 41 when his private helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California. The five-time NBA champion was among nine individuals, including his daughter Gianna, who died in the accident. On Wednesday, January 29, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to Us Weekly that all who died in the crash had been identified.
Bryant is survived by his wife of nearly two decades, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and their three other daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
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