An emotional LeBron James was spotted as he exited the Lakers team plane on Sunday after learning of the death of fellow NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant.
James could be seen hugging multiple people as he kept his head down after he returned with his teammates from a game in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia.
LeBron James emotional as he exits the Lakers team plane following news of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s death. 💔😢
— Complex (@Complex) January 27, 2020
James received a congratulatory message from Bryant on Friday after he surpassed him for the No. 3 spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant, who recently retired, finished his career with 33,644 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant tweeted. Much respect my brother #33644.”
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Since his passing, Bryant’s final tweet sent to James has received an outpouring of love from fans around the world.
After he surpassed Bryant’s record, James reflected on the first time they both met.
“Just admiring him for so many years and seeing him from afar, and then being able to be in practices with him, and me watching and learning — it’s just too much,” James said Saturday. “The story is just too much. It doesn’t make sense.
“And just to make a long story short, now I’m here in a Lakers uniform in Philadelphia, where he’s from, where the first time I ever met him he gave me his shoes, it’s just surreal,” he added.
Both Bryant and his 13- year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant were killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, which left nine people dead.