Kobe Bryant and LeBron James shared a phone call on Saturday evening before Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.
Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on board a helicopter which crashed outside the city of Calabasas, which is situated to the west of Los Angeles, at around 10am local time on Sunday morning.
On Saturday night, James overtook Bryant’s record of 33,643 points to become third on the NBA all-time scoring list during the LA Lakers’ defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.
And according to The Athletic and the LA Times, Bryant called the Lakers’ talisman to congratulate him on his latest achievement.
James, who moved to the Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, is now third behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) in the all-time NBA top scorers list.
According to The Athletic, several Lakers players were also listening in on the phone call between Bryant and James.
Bryant, who had regularly attended Lakers games since he retired in 2016, made a point of not being at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to watch James break his record.
‘I won’t go to the game,’ Bryant said in an interview with the LA Times earlier in January.
‘I’d rather that be about him.
‘I’ll for sure call him and tell him congratulations.
‘I’m so happy for ‘Bron, all he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish, he’s been great.’
After learning about Bryant’s death on Sunday, James was seen in tears after he stepped off the Lakers’ team plane.
Speaking after he had surpassed Bryant’s record, James said: ‘It’s just too much. It’s too much. The story is too much.
‘It doesn’t make sense. Just to make a long story short, now I’m here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he’s from.
‘The first time I ever met him, 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.
‘And it’s not supposed to make sense, but it just happens.
‘And I’m happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bean Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers.
‘The man has two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.’