LeBron James Shares Tribute to Kobe Bryant after NBA Title: 'Hope I've Made You Proud'

LeBron James has shared a heartfelt tribute for the late Kobe Bryant just days after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA title in a decade.

On Wednesday night, James posted three pictures on Instagram, which include a shot of him with Bryant's jersey resting over his knee, a close-up of the NBA trophy and a montage of pictures of him and Bryant which featured James' pledge from earlier this year to continue Bryant's legacy.

"Hope I've made you proud my brother!! Love and miss you Champ!!," James wrote as a caption.

Bryant died in January along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people, when the helicopter they were flying in crashed just outside Los Angeles. In the aftermath of his tragic death, James and the Lakers repeatedly spoke of their desire to end a 10-year wait for an NBA title to pay a fitting tribute to Bryant and his teenage daughter.

The Lakers had last won a title in 2010, when Bryant won the second of his two consecutive NBA Finals MVP crowns as the Purple and Gold defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games, successfully defending the title they had won against the Orlando Magic in 2009 and avenging the loss they had suffered against the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.

The Lakers honored Bryant throughout the playoffs, at times wearing "Black Mamba" jerseys, which were designed by the late Bryant himself. Initially introduced in the 2018 season, the jerseys were wheeled out again this year following Bryant's death.

"The one thing that we always shared was that determination to just always want to win and just want to be great," James said at Bryant's memorial service earlier this year.

"I want to continue along with my teammates, to continue his legacy [...] because that's what Kobe Bryant would want."

James kept his promise and on Sunday night he led the Lakers to a 106-93 win over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, delivering the franchise's first championship since 2010.

The title was James' fourth, which leaves him one short of Bryant's tally and also marked the fourth time James was named NBA Finals MVP, becoming the first player in NBA history to do so with three different teams.

Speaking after Game 6, James reflected on how Bryant's tragic death had brought the team together and sharpened their focus.

"We got as close as you possibly can be, when that moment happened," he told NBA TV.

"It brought the whole basketball world close as well, but when you're internal and it hits home, it just means that much more and we locked in from that very moment and said, 'This is bigger than us.'"

Fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis echoed James' stance.

"Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him," he explained. "I know he's looking down on us proud of us. I know Vanessa's proud of us, the organization's proud of us. It means a lot to us. It's a tough moment, man. He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him."

LeBron James, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds his MVP trophy and Finals trophy after winning the NBA Championship over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Getty/Mike Ehrmann