A day before the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James wore special sneakers that had a personal message to “Black Mamba.”
On Sunday afternoon, the gut-wrenching news broke that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The helicopter accident killed five people, reportedly including his 13-year-old daughter Giana Maria Bryant, who recently became a viral sensation on the internet from a video of her father giving her basketball pointers.
Only a matter of hours before the death of Kobe Bryant in his personal helicopter, LeBron James sent Black Mamba a special message. On Saturday night’s Los Angeles Lakers game against the 76ers in Philadelphia, LeBron passed Bryant to become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.
All LeBron needed to score 18 points to pass Kobe on the all-time NBA scoring list. Knowing he would most likely score 18 points, LeBron gave Kobe a special dedication on his sneakers. LeBron wrote “Mamba 4 Life” on his sneakers.
With 7:23 remaining in the third quarter, LeBron scored the historic basket, passing Kobe in scoring. James passed Bryant’s career total of 33,643 points during the game, making him third all-time in scoring, only behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
LeBron gave an interview to ESPN after the game, where he talked about the legacy of Kobe Bryant:
“It’s just too much. It’s too much. The story is too much,” James said of Bryant. “It doesn’t make sense. Just to make a long story short, now I’m here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he’s from. The first time I ever met him, gave me his shoes on All-Star Weekend. It’s surreal. It doesn’t make no sense, but the universe just puts things in your life. And I guess when you live in the right way, when you just give it everything to whatever you’re doing, things happen organically.
“And it’s not supposed to make sense, but it just happens. And I’m happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man has two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.”
In what would be Kobe Bryant’s final tweet, the NBA legend complimented LeBron James: “Continuing to move the game forward
@KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644.”
RIP Kobe Bryant.