LeBron James hailed Kobe Bryant in an interview after overtaking his NBA points record

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Basketball will continue to mourn Kobe Bryant, one of its greatest ever shooting guards. 

Police have confirmed the 41-year-old and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people who died on Sunday in a helicopter crash. 

Tributes have been pouring in from around the NBA and the world of sport. 

For many, 'Mamba' epitomised what it was to be a professional athlete and his elite mentality served as an example of how to get to the very top of the game. 

The Lakers legend's numbers on the court spoke for themselves too. 

Until this weekend, in fact, he was the NBA's third-highest points scorer of all time, surpassed only by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. 

That record was finally overhauled by LeBron James in the Lakers' game against the 76ers in Philadelphia, which ended 108-91 to the hosts. 

Fans have long debated James' credentials against Bryant's but there was always a mutual respect between the two greats - LeBron even recalled getting a pair of shoes from his idol. 

Indeed, after moving up to third in the rankings ahead of his rival, James was filmed speaking about his admiration for him. 

You can see the interview below: 

The 35-year-old was inspired by his hero from childhood and finally got to play with him in the Redeem Team at the 2008 Olympics. 

On a poignant note, Bryant's final tweet congratulated James on his achievement. 

Some of basketball's biggest names have spoken following the tragedy.

Michael Jordan released a statement describing Bryant as a "fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force", but also "an amazing dad who loved his family deeply - and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball". 

Rest in peace, Kobe and Gianna. 

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