LeBron James was left struggling to comprehend the "crazy" journey that led to him surpassing Kobe Bryant's all-time NBA points tally on Saturday.
Los Angeles Lakers star James leapfrogged the retired Bryant into third among the competition's most prolific scorers when he completed a layup in the third quarter of a 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Though the result somewhat spoiled the milestone, James spoke after the game in detail about his admiration for Bryant and recounted his earliest meetings with the retired Lakers great.
The formative encounters included a brush at a youth basketball camp at age 15 and receiving a pair of shoes from the eventual five-time NBA champion at the 2002 All-Star Game.
"It's too much. The story, it's too much. It doesn't make sense," James told reporters when asked about overtaking Bryant.
"To make a long story short, now I'm here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he's from, where I met him for one of the first times in All-Star week, it's surreal.
"It doesn't make sense, but the universe puts things in your life... things happen organically, and it's not supposed to make sense, but it just happens.
"I'm happy to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greatest basketball players, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man's got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It's just crazy."
The 35-year-old found it easier to sum up his appreciation for Ben Simmons, who led the 76ers to victory at Wells Fargo Center with 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
James (29 points) said he looked forward to sitting courtside and observing Simmons when the time comes for him to join Bryant in retirement.
"That's pretty much how I'm going to be when I'm done playing," he said.
"Being able to come back and watch this beautiful game, hopefully there's somebody playing the game at a high level.
"Like that guy across the hallway, Ben Simmons, I can sit and watch him and see how much he continues to grow, watch him and see him continue to do what he does, because he's growing every day."