Late Friday evening, it was announced via his Twitter account by his family that American actor Chadwick Boseman had passed away at the age of 43. He had been enduring a four-year-long battle with colon cancer that was withheld from the public in the interest of privacy, with everyone being shocked by the announcement. Boseman was a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, starring in iconic roles that held extra weight with the Black community. Those roles included James Brown in ‘Get On Up’, Jackie Robinson in the movie ’42’, Thurgood Marshall in the movie ‘Marshall’, and King T’Challa/Black Panther in ‘Black Panther’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, and ‘Avengers: Endgame’. His role as Black Panther was his most applauded, as he gave young Black children everywhere an enigmatic and extremely popular superhero for them to look up to.
Boseman was very connected to the NBA world, even participating in the 2018 NBA All-Star weekend dunk contest, providing a Black Panther mask to Indiana Pacer Victor Oladipo for his dunk. Boseman was honored with a moment of silence before games taking place on Saturday (along with Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson and former Arizona Wildcat head coach Lute Olsen who also passed away in the past few days), with LeBron James making the “Wakanda Forever” hand gesture after the national anthem, the gesture made famous by the movie ‘Black Panther’.
LeBron James spoke about Boseman afterward, expressing sentiment about the year of 2020 that is shared by pretty much everyone in the world and America right now (first reported by Lauren Jones of the LA Sentinel):
“To lose the Black Panther and the Black Mamba in the same year. We can all agree that 2020 is the shittiest year in my 35 years it’s not even a question.”
"To lose the Black Panther and the Black Mamba in the same year, we can all agree that 2020 is the s–ttiest year."
– LeBron James pic.twitter.com/QsWxCLrn7Y
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 30, 2020
LeBron also brings up the shocking death of Kobe Bryant in January, as both deaths were so sudden and unexpected. Both individuals were giants in the Black community and in their respective fields, with the world trying to grasp the reality of not having them moving forward. Boseman even discussed Kobe Bryant following his death in this video from LeBron James’ show “The Shop”, talking about Kobe wanting to work with him in the future.
Chadwick reflecting on Kobe and the conversation they had that made him respect Kobe’s mind. pic.twitter.com/6tt2AXzWmu
— Brian (@_ValTown_) August 29, 2020
R.I.P. to Chadwick Boseman and Kobe Bryant.