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LeBron James was understandably emotional and distressed as he exited the official LA Lakers plane following the tragic news that both Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna had died in a helicopter crash.
James and the rest of the squad had been on the plane back to LA following their defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers when the shocking news emerged and new footage shows his heartbreaking reaction as he stepped off the plane.
The 35-year old can be seen in tears as he shares powerful embraces.
LeBron James in tears as he exits the Los Angeles Lakers team plane following the news of Kobe Bryant's death. James passed Kobe for 3rd on the all-time scoring list yesterday. pic.twitter.com/4gUYmRjUqI- 12 SPORTS (@12SportsAZ) January 26, 2020
LeBron reacting to the heartbreaking news about Kobe :sweat::broken_heart: pic.twitter.com/hasCD1QFZ7- LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) January 26, 2020
LeBron James & the Lakers just arrived in LA. So sad man :cry:pic.twitter.com/PeFJGt4SZV- Lakers Empire (@LakersEmpire) January 26, 2020
Bryant's death comes less than a 24 hours after James, playing for Lakers, moved ahead of him in the all-time NBA scoring charts on Saturday night.
His final tweet was a passing-of-the-torch type message to 'the King' after his latest achievement.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother :muscle: #33644- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
James honoured 'Mamba' with a message on his trainers during the game in Philadelphia and paid respect to him post-match when asked about Bryant's influence on him.
Here's LeBron James talking warmly about Kobe Bryant's influence after passing his career points record last night. Takes on a new poignancy now pic.twitter.com/RbyPzZym1r- Ryan Baldi (@RyanBaldiFW) January 26, 2020
He told ESPN: "Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation.
"He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it's very humbling and it's dope."
NBA games carried on as scheduled on Sunday, with Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs players paying tribute by allowing the shot clock to expire for 24-second violations on each of their first possessions.
Remarkable moment to start the Raptors-Spurs game. pic.twitter.com/thmt9ZU1Ra- Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 26, 2020
No.24 was the iconic number Bryant wore for Lakers.
The Lakers are slated to play against rivals LA Clippers on Tuesday night in what will be a hugely emotional affair at the Staples Center.
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