By Rachel Yang
January 28, 2020 at 12:45 AM EST
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LeBron James mourned his friend and former Olympic teammate Kobe Bryant in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday night, a day after the Lakers star died in a helicopter crash.

In his emotional statement, James said he was “heartbroken and devastated,” adding that he would try to continue Bryant’s legacy.

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

He also recalled that the two talked as recently as Sunday morning, just hours before news of Bryant’s death was announced. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.

James included numerous photos of the two of them, including when Bryant came to his Lakers games, and when they both were part of the U.S. men’s national basketball team at the Olympics.

Bryant retired from basketball in 2016 after spending his entire career with the Lakers. James joined Bryant’s old squad two years later after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I’m not ready but here I go,” James began his emotional post. “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!”

In Bryant’s final tweet on Saturday, he congratulated James for passing him as the third-highest scorer in NBA history during the Lakers’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

James continued, “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!! Man I love you big bro.”

After sending his best wishes to Bryant’s wife Vanessa and their kids, James ended his post by saying he’d keep Bryant’s memory alive as a fellow Laker.

“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 s— on my back and keep it going!!” he wrote. “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!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life”

Many other celebrities have expressed grief over Bryant’s death, including former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, former president Barack Obama, and Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson.

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