L.A. rapper Nipsey Hussle’s murder outside of his Marathon clothing store on Sunday has shaken the music and sports worlds. Numerous NBA players cited Hussle’s music as influential in their lives, and some like, Russell Westbrook, worked with him in the community to give back to others. Their outpouring of support and heartache in the wake of his death has been emotional to say the least.
Hussle was more than just a rapper and activist — he was a friend to many players and avid Lakers fan, which is one of the many reasons why Hussle’s death has deeply affected LeBron James. The Lakers star said he sheds tears every time he thinks about Nipsey’s passing.
James has honored Hussle by wearing his face on a shirt as he sat on the bench, where he’s watching the Lakers finish out the season while injured, on Thursday night. And in an interview with CBS Los Angeles, James explained just how big a loss Hussle’s death is. James went as far as to call Nipsey’s passing “one of the most unfortunate events that’s happened in American history.”
“It’s another tragedy in the inner city, in the urban community and it’s just unfortunate,” James said. “I still don’t believe it.”
James respected Nipsey for giving back and staying in his community, but said many who grew up around the rapper resented his talent and success.
“When you become someone, you tap into that gift and you know what your gift is and then you give back and you continue to give back and you continue to give back and you continue to put on for where you come from,” James said. “To see it taken away by someone who didn’t have the same drive…is what we have to deal with in our own inner cities.”
Hussle’s memorial service is scheduled for Thursday at the Staples Center, the place James and the Lakers call home.