LeBron James promised to continue Kobe Bryant's legacy as the heartbroken superstar reacted to the Los Angeles Lakers legend's tragic death.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.
Tuesday's showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed, with James and the storied franchise still reeling from the news.
James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, issued his first public comments via social media on Monday.
In an Instagram post, James – a team-mate of Bryant's as the United States won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – wrote: "I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I 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!
"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!
"You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!
"I got US here! There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life"