LeBron James Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant: ‘Love and Miss You My Brother’

by Katie Maloney

LeBron James symbolically shared his championship moment with his friend, Kobe Bryant, in a photo on Instagram.

Although Bryant and James never played together in the NBA, they were teammates on Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Furthermore, the two were close friends.

James shared a photo on Instagram today of himself receiving his 2020 Championship ring with Bryant standing alongside him. The image is by digital artist, Jeff Cole. Cole edited the photo to look as if Bryant was proudly watching as James received his ring. The emotional photo was so well received by fans that James reposted it to his own account and said, “What I felt last night when I grabbed that ring from the case. Love and miss you my brother!!!!”

The Friendship Between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

The image Cole created and captioned with “How it was supposed to be,” perfectly depicts the friendship between the two athletes.

James met Bryant for the first time when he was a high school junior. His high school basketball team had a game outside Philadelphia – the same site of the NBA All-Star weekend.

James and a friend went to the hotel Bryant was staying at so they could chat with Bryant for a few minutes. Bryant gave James a pair of his sneakers, which were a size too small. Nevertheless, James wore them during his game that night. James reminisced about the event during an interview.

Years later, Bryant symbolically passed the torch – or basketball – to James at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game when he said, “When I leave, he’ll be the elder statesman.” Although Bryant could not be present for the ceremony last night, after his tragic death in January of this year, his legacy is remembered by both James and players throughout the NBA.