LeBron James, 35, and many of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates were mid-flight back to their home city when they found out about Kobe Bryant dying. Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died after the helicopter they were on crashed in Calabasas, California on January 26. For LeBron, who has called Kobe his “brother” many times in the past, it was a situation that he couldn’t believe was actually happening. “I remember the first thing Bron said to me was, ‘Man, y’all stop playin — like, stop playing with me,'” Anthony Davis, 26, told ESPN in an interview posted on Monday, February 24. “And I’m trying to get on the internet. And Dwight (Howard), like, you can see him start crying. He was like, ‘It’s true.'” Others from the Lakers association who were on board that flight included coach Frank Vogel, 46, and fellow teammate Jared Dudley, 34.
The Cleveland native, who passed Kobe on the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard one day before he died on Saturday, January 25, gathered his fellow players together at one point after they all found out about the devastating news. It was here that he led his team in prayer. “It was just off the top off my head, just off the cuff,” LeBron said. “I think it was needed for us to come together and just give thanks to the man above.”
LeBron continued, “Even though at times we question him and question why he do some of the things that he do, know that he’s never made a mistake. And just hope that he has his hands on top of Vanessa (Bryant) and the kids at that time, and hope that he continues to watch over all of us. So, I don’t know, it wasn’t something I thought about. It was something that just kind of came to me, and I said my piece.”
LeBron was seen breaking down in tears after he exited his emotional flight. It was an emotional day had by millions as several stars from the world of sports including Tom Brady, 42, and Michael Jordan, 57, shared tributes about the late & great NBA star.