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LeBron James Unveils Dramatic Kobe Bryant 'Black Mamba' Tribute Tattoo

The Lakers All-Star bares his new ink in honor of his friend shortly before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the first Lakers game since Bryant's death.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James unveiled his riveting new Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo on Instagram Friday just hours before the team’s first game since the Lakers legend was killed in a helicopter crash.

The tat features a Black Mamba snake, a homage to Bryant’s nickname, the words “Mamba 4 Life” and Bryant’s numbers 24 and 8. Two flowers on the tattoo may represent Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianni “Gigi” Bryant, who was also killed in the crash Sunday along with seven other people. 

“My Brother,” James posted with the photo.

James first sported the tattoo — on his left thigh — during a Lakers workout Thursday. Teammate Anthony Davis appeared to have the same ink — on his right thigh. The works were inked by tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia. She posted videos Wednesday of her working on both men on Instagram Story. “King James my man,” she said in a caption. 

 

The Lakers face off Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.  

LeBron James and ink artist Vanessa Aurelia post the creation of his Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo.
LeBron James and ink artist Vanessa Aurelia post the creation of his Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo.

James posted a heartbreaking tribute Monday to Bryant. The men had spoken shortly before the crash.

“Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have,” James wrote on Instagram. “WTF!!” He added: “you mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation” ... Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me.”

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