Coincidentally, James was praised by Bryant just one night before his tragic death after he surpassed his former teammate for the No. 3 spot on the NBA's all-time scoring list during his game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"It's just too much. It's too much. The story is too much," James told reporters of beating Bryant's record following the game, according to ESPN. "It doesn't make sense. Just to make a long story short, now I'm here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where [Bryant's] from. The first time I ever met him, he gave me his shoes on All-Star Weekend. It's surreal. It doesn't make no sense, but the universe just puts things in your life. And I guess when you live in the right way, when you just give it everything to whatever you're doing, things happen organically."
Bryant's final Instagram post was honoring James' accomplishment. Sharing a photo with James, Bryant wrote, "On to #2@kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next. ??."