Iconic actor Chadwick Boseman passed away on Friday night at the age of 43 due to colon cancer. One day later, Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James paid tribute to him before a playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He did the Wakanda salute after kneeling during a moment of silence.
The NBA honored the memories of three prominent figures that recently passed away. This list ncluded Boseman, former Trail Blazers star Cliff Robinson and former University of Arizona head coach Lute Olsen. The players held a moment of silence, and James did the salute. He then spoke to reporters following the game and reflected on Boseman's death.
"It actually felt like we had our black superhero and nobody could touch us," James told reporters. "To lose that, it's sad in our community. To lose Black Panther and the Black Mamba in the same year, we can all agree that 2020 is the s—iest year in my 35 years. It's not even a question."
When James and the Lakers took the court on Saturday night, they did so with the intention of winning and securing a trip to the second round of the playoffs. The big man did so in record-tying fashion. He scored 36 points and became the first Lakers player to turn in a 30-point triple-double in the playoffs since James Worthy in 1988.
"This is why LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time," one fan commented after watching the tribute and the game. Others weighed in and agreed with the sentiment. They expressed appreciation for the tribute to Boseman during the moment of silence.
James was one of the many NBA figures mourning Boseman following his death on Friday. The Black Panther actor had an impact on the league and became involved in key events. He previously served as a judge in the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, and he also went viral during 2017-18 dunk contest when he handed Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo the Black Panther mask and then gave the Wakanda salute.
Boseman's ties to the NBA also continued following Kobe Bryant's death in a helicopter crash. The actor joined Common, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Kenny Smith and several others for a tribute project. These prominent figures recreated some of Bryant's most iconic photos, including one that featured Boseman standing with his arms outstretched and his tilted back.