Bryant was an 18-time All Star, a five-time National Basketball Association champion and won two scoring titles, all with the Lakers.
Bryant, 41, was the third-leading scorer in National Basketball Association history with 33,643 points - but that all changed during James' game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
After being selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant spent 20 years in the NBA, all with the Lakers.
All of the leading four scorers played at least part of their careers for the Lakers.
Bryant responded only yesterday (Sunday NZT) to James' surpassing of his career points total with typical class via his Twitter feed. He was an 18-time All-Star, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and a two-time NBA scoring champion. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers' LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant's hometown. "Much respect my brother #33644", Bryant tweeted.
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"He had zero flaws offensively", James said.
2003: A 19-year-old employee at a Colorado hotel accuses Bryant of sexual assault and presses charges against him.
Bryant was widely considered not just one of the greatest Lakers to have played the game of basketball, but one of the finest to ever lace 'em up in the NBA after a 20-year career that saw him rack up almost every accolade in the game. "It doesn't make sense".
Bryant and the Lakers do what few teams have done before - three-peat. He wore No. 8 and No. 24 as a member of the Lakers, both of which now hang in the rafters at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.