LOS ANGELES — In the days following the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine people including former NBA star Kobe Bryant, LeBron James has honored him with new ink.

Prior to his Los Angeles Lakers' return to action against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, James unveiled a new tattoo.

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James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis both hinted at their new tattoos on Instagram Thursday. James posted a photo of his thigh and the outline of a tattoo that appears to be a snake, a likely tribute to Bryant's famous "Black Mamba" nickname. Davis also posted a photo of his thigh with tattoo artist Vanessa Aurelia designing his ink.

Cameras caught a small glimpse of James' new tattoo as the Lakers practiced Thursday, though the ink was covered by a bandage. 

James turned to Instagram Monday night with an emotional post honoring Bryant. 

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"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--t on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!" the post read in part.

James passed Bryant for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list just hours before Bryant's death.

Bryant, 41, was killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Southern California. The crash also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, as well as John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester.

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