NBA superstar LeBron James honoured his Los Angeles Lakers predecessor, Kobe Bryant, who died on January 26, 2020 due to a helicopter accident on his way to the Mamba Sports Academy with eight others. James showed off his new ink before the Lakers game on Friday.

The tattoo depicts a Black Mamba snake, a nickname Kobe Bryant gave himself, and the numbers 8 and 24, representing the two jersey numbers that Bryant used in his career as a player.

According to, James unveiled the tattoo before the Lakers' game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Hours ahead of the game, the Staples Center was already packed with fans, as the whole Lakers organization held a memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant.

LeBron James reveals "Mamba 4 Life" tattoo honoring Kobe Bryant 💜💛 (via @KingJames)

— Stadium (@Stadium) February 1, 2020

The game against the Trail Blazers was initially set on January 28. However, it was postponed by the league out of respect to the Lakers organization, which is still reeling in shock from the loss of their former superstar player. The game, together with a tribute for Bryant and his daughter, was rescheduled for January 31. The Trail Blazers won the game 127-119.

Kobe Bryant played for 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was drafted straight out of High School and did not play for any other team in the NBA. He retired in 2016. James joined the Lakers in 2018 as his replacement. James is most likely the last superstar drafted straight from high school, after the NBA banned recruiting high school players in 2005.

Both players are frequently compared to each other because of their early starts as a pro ballers. On January 25th, in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, mere hours before Bryant's untimely death, James passed Bryant as the NBA's 3rd all-time leading scorer, needing only 18 points before the game to beat his predecessor. Bryant tweeted personal congratulations to James on his social media account after the feat was completed. It is fated to be his last post on Twitter.

LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James gestures while playing against the Brooklyn Nets on October 10, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China Photo: AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL Hector Retamal/AFP