The Los Angeles Lakers came away winners in the 2020 NBA Finals, closing out the series in six games on Oct. 11. The championship win was bittersweet, too, coming just months after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash.
Likewise, it was an emotional win for Lakers star LeBron James, a friend of Bryant's who had been in dialogue with the NBA icon since joining his former team in 2018.
LeBron James: Kobe Bryant tribute after 2020 NBA Finals win
James took to Instagram on Wednesday to send a message to Bryant, following the Lakers win several days earlier. "Hope [I] made you proud my brother!! Love and miss you Champ!!" James wrote, along with the hashtag honouring Bryant's nickname, Black Mamba.
The Instagram tribute came with three photos, first displaying a pensive James in a black-and-white shot showing colour only on the lettering of a Bryant #24 Lakers jersey.
Second, James shared a photo of his and Bryant's moments as friends and competitors on the court, with a January 2020 quote on James continuing Bryant's Lakers legacy. And finally, the third photo shows the 2020-champion Lakers with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. On Sunday, they defeated the Miami Heat in six games.
Lakers win 2020 NBA Finals in year of Kobe Bryant's passing
The 2020 finals win was LeBron's fourth overall, but his first since joining the Lakers in 2018. The current NBA great — usually recognized as the league's best since Bryant's retirement — has also been a vocal proponent on the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
James will also revive the Space Jam franchise in a 2021 sequel titled A New Legacy. He debuted the film's new uniforms last month.