MLB home run king Barry Bonds pays tribute to Hank Aaron

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By RADIO.COM

Baseball legend Barry Bonds on Friday joined the rest of the sports world and beyond in honoring Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who died at age 86.

Bonds, who claimed MLB's all-time home run title from Aaron in 2007 amid controversy over his reported use of performance-enhancing drugs, took to social media to remember the man they called Hammerin' Hank.

"Rest in Peace #HankAaron," Bonds said on social media. "A true baseball legend."

The tweet included an attached statement offering condolences to Aaron's family, and thanking Aaron for his "trailblazing" and for "setting an example for all of us African American ball players who came after you."

Bonds closed the tribute with a pair of photos showing Bonds, Aaron and San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays posing with bats in their hands.

Aaron, widely hailed for his grace and class throughout his playing career, bravely withstood a deluge of racist hate mail and death threats during his pursuit of the iconic Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974.

He similarly took the high road during Bonds' incredible late-career run, declining to criticize Bonds or any other players whose exploits were reported to be enhanced by pharmaceuticals.

Aaron said the 30-plus years he'd held the record was long enough. He wasn't on-hand in San Francisco when Bonds eclipsed his mark, though he appeared in a prerecorded congratulatory message that was played on the Giants' video board.

Some baseball observers and fans still insist that Aaron is the game's rightful home run king.