The Los Angeles Lakers are hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon (November 6), but LeBron James’ heart is with beloved Atlanta rapper Takeoff (real name Kirshnik Khari Ball), 28, who died in the early hours of Tuesday, November 1. The prominent Migos member was fatally shot while attending a private event with Quavo at 810 Billiards & Bowling in Houston. A suspect has yet to be identified in the shooting, which happened following an altercation.
James first changed his Instagram profile picture to Takeoff shortly after news of his tragic death broke. In the photo, Takeoff was donning dark sunglasses, a classic black suit and tie, and an icy chain. Sunday, James arrived to LA’s Crypto.com Arena wearing the exact same outfit.
“If you know me any then [sic] you know how much I love @yrntakeoff!!” James captioned his Instagram post. “Still doesn’t feel real to me . Rest in Paradise Rocket Man !!”
In September 2021, acclaimed broadcaster Taylor Rooks asked Quavo, Takeoff’s uncle, about James’ blatant Migos fandom and how the four-time NBA champion always seems to get unreleased music.
“It’s organic,” Quavo said. “And then, if we’re just feeling the vibe, I know he needs music — sometimes he needs that unreleased music because he in the lab when nobody see it. He in the lab when everybody thinking that he on vacation. So, same way with music. We got songs, we got records in our phone. You might think we doing a show. We got another hit ready to go. You just gotta get ’em geared up like that on some exclusive time.”
Last month, Quavo and Takeoff released their Only Built For Infinity Links album as it became clearer that they planned to move forward as a duo without Offset, the third Migos member. Offset honored Takeoff by changing his Instagram icon to a photo of his late cousin. He reportedly canceled a scheduled show in Boston in the wake of Takeoff’s death. Quavo’s 23-year-old assistant, Joshua “Wash” Washington, is reportedly one of two people who suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the shooting.
Tributes to Takeoff, especially in the music world, have been flooding the internet this week. Also on Sunday, Minnesota Vikings cornerbacks Cam Dantzler and Patrick Peterson wore customized graphic tees honoring Takeoff before the NFL’s Week 9 action kicked off.