LeBron inks 'Black Mamba' snake tattoo and pays tribute to his departed friend Kobe Bryant

LA Lakers' LeBron James unveils new tattoo–– a 'black mamba' snake curling around the numbers 24 and 8 as a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who perished alongside daughter Gianna on Jan 26

LeBron James paid tribute to his Lakers' teammate and basketball legend Kobe Bryant who passed away alongside his daughter Gianna on account of a helicopter crash on January 26, by inking a brand new tattoo, commemorating his friendship with Bryant.

The deceased basketball legend and his daughter Gianna were en route to a youth basketball game with parents and players from the Mamba Sports Academy girls' team when their helicopter amid less-than-ideal conditions crashed against a hill in Calabasas, California. The crash claimed nine lives in total including the pilot, the Altobellis and Christina Mauser.

King James pays tribute to the 'Black Mamba'

The serpent tattoo on LeBron's left thigh to honor Kobe @wikimediacommons

On Friday, the 35-year-old Los Angeles Lakers' star gave an intimate view of the new tattoo on Instagram through a post which also had pictures of him and Kobe sitting courtside, these pictures were taken a while back when the pair were still teammates.

The tattoo is an illustration of a 'black mamba' serpent with its tongue wagging. The serpent is seen curled up with two roses at its back and the numbers '24' and '8' etched on either side, a reference to the Jersey numbers of Bryant.

Another feature of the tattoo is the phrase 'Mamba 4 Life' tattooed at the bottom of the snake, signifying the reason behind its existence. The term "Black Mamba" was a nickname of Bryant, lovingly bestowed upon his by his fans.

LeBron referred to Bryant as his 'brother'

LeBron James enlisted the help of renowned tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia on Wednesday to have the tattoo performed on his left thigh at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Lakers star and fellow teammate Anthony Davis shared a video of himself getting the same tattoo and credit both James and tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia for help.

The post that revealed the tattoo from LeBron James on Instagram referred to Bryant as his "brother". It was on Thursday, at the Lakers facility in El Segundo where James was working out with the rest of his teammates was the place where the media first saw the new tattoo on LeBron's left thigh.

LeBron's Instagram post honoring Bryant @instagram/lebronjames