Kobe Bryant was supportive of the Los Angeles Lakers until the very end. As previously reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania and confirmed by a new report from The New York Times, Bryant spoke on speaker phone with his former team the night before he died. It would be the last time he would speak to LeBron James or any of the other Lakers.
In the New York Times breakdown of Bryant's final hours, they confirm that Bryant had called James to congratulate the 35-year-old on passing him on the NBA all-time scorer's list. James and the team were in Philadelphia at the time playing the 76ers, and Bryant was back home in California.
The retired NBA great had already congratulated James on Twitter in a tweet that read: "Continuing to move the game forward [King James]. Much respect my brother."
However, he apparently wanted to speak directly with the four-time MVP and called him up. During that call, James put it on speakerphone and his teammates joined in.
James himself referenced the call when he first broke his silence on Bryant's death. James noted that he had spoken with the future NBA Hall of Famer on Sunday morning, presumably meaning the call took place just after midnight.
"I'm Not Ready but here I go," James wrote. "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. [What the f—]!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!"
He added, "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!!"
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