| Last updated
LeBron James delivered a beautiful emotionally-charged tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant ahead of the LA Lakers' clash with Portland Trail Blazers.
LA Lakers legend Bryant tragically died in a helicopter crash last week alongside his daughter Gianna and seven other people.
Despite the Lakers losing 127-119 to the Trail Blazers at the Staples Center, the night was all about the tribute to ex-basketball superstar Bryant.
LA Lakers forward James dropped a heartfelt tribute that celebrated the "kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became the best dad we've seen over the last three years."
"Tonight we celebrate the kid that came here at 18, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we've seen over the last three years." pic.twitter.com/0sS7e91cuz- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 1, 2020
"So in the words of Kobe Bryant, 'Mamba Out,' but in the words of us, 'Not forgotten.' Live on, brother."- ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2020
-LeBron James during the Lakers' tribute to Kobe pic.twitter.com/qQTHrirN6t
The 35-year-old basketball superstar said: "This is a celebration of the 20 years of sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up.
"Sitting down to everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.
"Tonight, we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became the best dad we've seen over the last three years."
Lakers players took to the court wearing Bryant's numbers -- either eight or 24 -- during the warm-up for the match.
And the NBA legend's 'KB' initials were also printed on the court, while each Lakers member in the line-up was introduced as "number eight, Kobe Bryant."
R&B artist Usher sang 'Amazing Grace' in front of two yellow rose arrangements, which were presented in the shapes of Bryant's eight and 24 numbers.
Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Lakers, had his No 24 jersey placed alongside Gianna's No 2 jersey on two courtside seats where they would watch matches.
James, who has since revealed his new tattoo in tribute to Bryant, opened up about the emotions running high on the night and sent out a touching message to fans.
"Just make sure you hug the s**t out of your family," he said.
"If you got kids, tell your kids you love them. Try to make it to as much as you can."
"Just make sure you hug the s--- out of your family. If you got kids, tell your kids you love them. Try to make it to as much as you can."- ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2020
-LeBron James while talking about Kobe and tonight's emotions pic.twitter.com/7FV7idH3Xl
Featured Image Credit: ESPN
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read