LeBron James broke his silence on the death of Kobe Bryant, saying he was "heartbroken and devastated."
In an emotional Instagram post, James mourned Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
"I'm sitting here trying to write something for this post, but every time I try, I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi, and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had," James said.
"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA," he added.
It was reported that Bryant had called James after the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Philadelphia 76ers, which saw James pass Bryant for third place in the NBA's scoring list.
Bryant's final tweet had been about James, when he congratulated the "King."
"Continuing to move the game forward… much respect, my brother," Bryant wrote.
James expressed his love for Bryant and promised to "continue your legacy."
"You mean so much to us all here, especially Laker Nation. It's my responsibility to put this sh*t on my back and keep it going," he added. "Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me."
"I got us here."
Bryant, 41, retired in 2016 after a 20-year career, all spent with the Lakers. He won five championships and an MVP, as well as two Finals MVPs.
Seven other people perished in the crash, including a Filipina-American coach.
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