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LeBron James reveals Kobe Bryant tattoo as Lakers prepare to honor NBA legend

During the five long and painful days since learning of Kobe Bryant’s death, the Lakers have had to confront a difficult question in the midst of their mourning:

How would they honor him in a way that pays proper respect to the legend’s impact on the franchise, the city and the game of basketball as a whole?

Friday afternoon, hours before the Lakers play their first game since Bryant’s death, at 7:30 p.m. against the Portland Trail Blazers, the answers began to be revealed.

The Lakers posted a photo on Twitter of a black circle with the letters “KB” inside of it displayed on the baseline at Staples Center, captioned “The House That Kobe Built.” The Lakers’ home gold uniforms will also feature a patch with the black “KB” logo.

pic.twitter.com/SWtFP34LLe

Every fan who enters the building will receive a gold Bryant jersey T-shirt. One side of the arena will wear No. 8; the other will wear No. 24.

The Lakers covered the two seats that Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, occupied the last time they came to Staples Center, when the Lakers played the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 29, with Kobe’s No. 24 jersey and Gianna’s No. 2. They covered the seats with bouquets of red roses.

The names of the nine victims of the helicopter crash are scrolling around the digital banner that envelopes the arena.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said earlier Friday that he and his assistant coaches will wear Bryant’s signature Nike sneakers.

#GirlDad pic.twitter.com/vAdwfoKcJh

The names of the nine victims of the helicopter crash are scrolling around the digital banner at Staples. pic.twitter.com/tAlN1L7dr5

“We’ve been through our ups and been through our downs. I think the most important part is that we all stayed together throughout.” pic.twitter.com/AJDrr1WDIT

This locker. pic.twitter.com/zoErJY0rnL

2 ♾ 8 pic.twitter.com/DeKsRqcTry

LeBron James’ chiseled physique will now forever carry the memory of Kobe Bryant on his left thigh.

Hours before the Lakers play their first game since Bryant’s death against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, James revealed on his Instagram account a new tattoo honoring Bryant, whom James passed for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Saturday night.

The fresh ink shows a “Black Mamba” snake with a rose, a No. 24 and a No. 8, with the inscription “Mamba 4 Life.”

James also posted a picture of him and Bryant sitting on the bench together as Olympians.

The Lakers tweeted a photo of Bryant’s No. 24 jersey hanging on a wall to the side of James’ locker as he prepared for Friday’s game. James uses the same corner locker space that Bryant used during his time as a player.

LeBron James‘ new tattoo pic.twitter.com/Y5LdEmS1Rn

❤️ My brother ♾ #Mamba4Life #RIPKobe #RIPGiGi

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jan 31, 2020 at 4:21pm PST

Friday afternoon, Staples Center and L.A. Live president Lee Zeidman posted a tweet asking fans who were planning to congregate at the adjacent XBox Plaza to remember Kobe Bryant before and during the Lakers’ home game against the Portland Trail Blazers to watch from their homes.

As we morn the loss of Kobe & Gianna Bryant PLEASE If u don’t have a ticket 2 tonites game DON’T come down 2 ⁦@STAPLESCenter⁩ ⁦@LALIVE⁩ Stay home watch w/ur friends & families & hug ur loved ones as we will NOT be showing it on r screens https://t.co/ouUHMxRyeG

Despite Zeidman’s plea, hundreds of people have gathered and continue to bring flowers and other tokens of their affection, honoring Bryant and the eight others who died in Sunday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas.

The Lakers must know their fans, because they brought out fresh white banners of Bryant for visitors to sign on Friday afternoon.

Two hours before Friday’s 7:30 p.m. tipoff for the Lakers’ first game since Kobe Bryant’s death against the Portland Trail Blazers, tickets on the secondary market were going for a minimum of $922 each on StubHub.com.

At the top of the spectrum, two courtside seats were listed at $13,200 each.

For the Phoenix Suns game on Feb. 10, the get-in price at StubHub is $96.

StubHub said it will “honor the legacy of the great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi,” by donating 100 percent of the fees of tickets sold to Friday’s game to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

Lakers great Magic Johnson is in the building for the team’s first game since Kobe Bryant’s death on Sunday.

@MagicJohnson enters Staples for tonight’s game #Kobe pic.twitter.com/0yIQG1wBjP

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson will wear a Kobe Bryant tribute mask during Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Honda Center.

The mask features a silhouette of Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, and the names of the seven other victims of Sunday morning’s helicopter crash.

The helmet portrays a purple-and-gold No. 24 on one side and a No. 8 on the other.

This Kobe Bryant tribute mask will be worn by John Gibson tonight as the #NHLDucks take on the Lightning at @HondaCenter. The mask features a silhouette of Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, surrounded by the names of the seven other victims of the tragedy.🎨: @ShellShockCo pic.twitter.com/uKLFmdnPpl

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