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LeBron James unveils ‘Black Mamba’ Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo

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LeBron James unveiled a new tribute tattoo to Kobe Bryant on his Instagram on Friday, hours before he and the Lakers were scheduled to take the court for the first time since Bryant’s death.

James posted a photo of the tat, which features a Black mamba snake coiled around the numbers 24 and 8. “Mamba 4 Life” is written in cursive underneath the snake.

Black Mamba

The ink is a tribute to the NBA legend, who wore the numbers 24 and 8 during his career with the Lakers.

Kobe also created his on-the-court persona, “Black Mamba” in an effort to separate his personal life from his basketball career.

He created the nickname — which was used by everyone from sports announcers to fans and sponsors — in a rebranding strategy after the negative attention around his actual name following a rape accusation in the early 2000s.

“The name [Kobe Bryant] just evokes such a negative emotion,” Bryant told the New Yorker in 2014.

Kobe-Bryant-and-LeBron-James-

“I said, ‘If I create this alter ego, so now when I play this is what’s coming out of your mouth, it separates the personal stuff, right?’ You’re not watching David Banner — you’re watching the Hulk,” he added.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, on Sunday.

kobe-bryant-lebron-james

James previously paid tribute to Bryant in another Instagram post earlier this week, writing: “I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!!”

“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!!” he added in the post that featured several photos of the two stars together.

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