Kobe Bryant was a trailblazer – on and off the court.
He finished his high school career as the highest scoring player in the history of southeastern Pennsylvania basketball. He became the youngest NBA player in history at age 17 – and the youngest starter in his first All-Star game. Two years ago, he became the only athlete to ever win a basketball championship and an Academy Award.
But in his last social media posts before his death, Bryant wasn’t celebrating another one of his achievements – he was celebrating someone else.
Bryant congratulated Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James for passing him to become the third highest scorer in NBA history with 33,655 points. Bryant scored 33,643 points in his NBA career. They follow Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who tops the list with 38,387 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” he tweeted. “Much respect my brother.”
And on Instagram, Bryant rooted for James to climb even higher on that list.
“On to #2,” he wrote. “Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.”
Earlier this month, Bryant told the Los Angeles Times that after James joined the Lakers – where Bryant played his entire professional career – he became “a part of our brotherhood, part of our fraternity and we should embrace him that way.”
“You got to celebrate … appreciate what he is as an athlete while he is here,” Bryant said. “Appreciate this guy, celebrate what he’s done, because it’s truly remarkable.”
And despite always being a passionately in-it-to-win-it player, Bryant said players aren’t too bothered by who does it best.
“It’s funny because people get so passionate over it,” he previously said. “I understand, you’re fans, it’s a debate culture, that will never, ever stop.”
“But for us as athletes, myself and ‘Bron and all the other guys, we appreciate each other, and we don’t participate in that stuff.”
And James, who also joined the NBA right out of high school, doesn’t stray far from those feelings either.
“He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope,” he said.
“Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”
CNN’s Calum Trenaman contributed to this report.