NBA champion, Lebron James, spoke to reporters last week in honor of late basketball star, Kobe Bryant, following a basketball game between the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
"...Out of all the success he had, five rings, multiple MVPs at the All-Star Game, MVP of this league, first-team everything, all life, all world, all basketball, I felt like these last three years was the happiest I've ever seen him."
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up before the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 9, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images
The star went on to note that Kobe's happiness rebounded in those last years because he was able to spend time with his family, and his daughters finally, a luxury, life of basketball, denied him for years. Jamesexplained
"When we're playing this game of basketball, we give so much to it. It's my 17th year, so I know. You give so much to it that your family comes to the wayside at times.
While giving his heartfelt speech, the athlete dwelled on how achieving greatness in the game and emerging the best, required sacrifices to ensure nothing stood in the way, sometimes at the expense of family.
Speaking on some of the sacrifices, the father of three recounted a time he went across town to see his son at Springfield, hours before his game in Boston. Although the Lakers lost eventually that night, the short time with his son was worth it, he affirmed.
The All-Star legend got a tattoo in honor of his friend, late basketball MVP, Kobe Bryant.
The game held on Friday, which marked the first return of the Los Angeles Lakers to the field since the demise of NBA legend on January 26, 2020, from a helicopter crash. The play-off ended with a 127-119 loss against the Lakers.
Before the game, the NBA champ delivered a heartfelt speech in honor of the lost legend, which left the audience in a somber mood. He reflected:
"This is a celebration of 20 years... The countless hours of determination to be as great as he could be. Tonight we celebrate the kid that came here at 18 years of age and retired at 38."
During his speech, the Lakers champ struggled to hold back his tears, but the over twenty thousand audiences at the Staples Center couldn't have fared worse.
The tattoo, which featured a snake, the numbers, 24 and 8, was a reference to the late icon's nickname, Black Mamba, as well as his jersey numbers.
Lebron gave fans a glimpse of the fiery tribute on social media, just days after stating his intention to honor his lost friend with a unique ink work.
Having had a life on the court surrounded by such loyal friends and teammates, it can be said that Kobe, who died alongside his daughter, Gianna, found a family away from home during his time with the lakers.