LeBron James Honors Kobe Bryant After Leading Lakers to NBA Championship: 'Hope I Made You Proud'

LeBron James has led the Los Angeles Lakers to their 17th NBA Championship in franchise history and is hoping he earned the late Kobe Bryant's approval. James went to Instagram on Wednesday night to pay tribute to the Lakers legend. Bryant died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people in January.

"Hope I'm made you proud my brother!! Love and miss you Champ!!" James wrote in the post. He also posted a black and white photo of himself holding a Bryant Black Mamba jersey. Another photo in the post displayed a quote from James the day after Bryant died that said: "I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!!"

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Shortly after Bryant's death, James went to Instagram and sent a message to Bryant. "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!" James wrote at the time. "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!!"

James went on to talk about the impact Bryant made on the Lakers franchise. You mean so much to us all here especially [Laker Nation] and it's my responsibility to put this s3 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!!"

The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to win the championship. James and company were looking to win the series in five games as they wore the Black Mamba jerseys in the fifth game. However, Los Angeles clinched the title in Game 6, and Bryant's wife, Vanessa, expressed her approval of the Lakers earning the title. "Go Lakers! Congratulations Uncle P [Rob Pelinka]. Congratulations [Lakers]," she wrote on her Instagram story. Kobe was top, RP! ‘Stay the course, Blockout the Noise.’ Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.”