• LeBron James bares his first experience facing Kobe Bryant on the court
  • The Lakers star continues to admire the late NBA legend
  • James has now taken over the leadership role in the Lakers franchise

LeBron James recalled that he felt a “sense of awe” when the four-time NBA champion shared the court with the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for the first time in his career.

James was just 19 years old during the 2003-04 season when he stepped on the court against “The Black Mamba." They would go on to meet 15 times until Bryant’s retirement in 2016.

Leading up to Bryant’s first death anniversary, he was asked to remember his initial experience coming face-to-face with Lower Merion's favorite son after the Lakers’ 113-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

“I was just in awe,” James told reporters, via Spectrum SportsNet. “It’s a guy who along with a lot of other guys was on my wall when I lived in Springhill. He had a nice collage on my wall.”

“He’s a guy who decided to make the jump from high school to the NBA. I was thinking about doing that at one point in my junior year. I thought if Kobe has done it maybe I could learn from it one day along with KG (Kevin Garnett)and T-Mac (Tracy McGrady),” he added.

“But just being out on the floor with him, if you remember he gave me a pair of shoes when I was a junior in high school. To be able to share the floor with him was, you know for any kid that has aspirations or has inspiring moments from someone, is like a sense of awe.”

James admitted that to this day, he still looks up to Bryant, highlighting the extraordinary traits he exhibited during his illustrious NBA run.

“The grace that he played the game with, the passion that he played the game with, and the determination to go out and dominate you was something that I loved," he stated. "It was something that I was like 'I can pick from that'.”

“As you guys know Kobe, he is not on the floor to talk to anybody. He’s out there to kill you. He’s out there to dethrone you and stranglehold you. There was this awe moment; that was something that I would never ever forget,” the multiple-time NBA MVP continued.

The 36-year-old has now taken over the leadership mantle within the Lakers franchise and has made it his mission to live up to the great legacy forged by Bryant.

While James’ first season donning the signature purple and gold colors was nothing to write about, he turned around the team’s fortunes in his second hurrah. He steered the Lakers to their first NBA title since 2010.

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
LeBron James was openly welcomed by Lakers legend and old rival Kobe Bryant. In this picture, James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers jokes with Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 120-108 Cavaliers win at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on March 10, 2016. Harry How/Getty Images