"You don't wish bad on other athletes because you're trying to preserve whatever idea you think people have of your legacy," Kobe Bryant said

Shortly before his death, Kobe Bryant made it clear that he supported the next generation of basketball players, even if that meant seeing his own records get broken.

Before he and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Bryant spoke about LeBron James surpassing his all-time scoring record. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, he said he was “comfortable with the 20 years and moving on,” referencing his two decades playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“People tend to misconstrue my competitiveness and that of other athletes as well. They think, they’re competitors, they don’t want the person coming up behind them to pass them or break their records, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he shared.

“If you’re playing together on the court, that’s a competition. But when you have done whatever you can do and now you move on from that, you don’t wish bad on other athletes because you’re trying to preserve whatever idea you think people have of your legacy. To me that’s very immature and juvenile. For me, it’s just the opposite,” Bryant added.

Continuing, the father of four shared that he wants “to see people do well, I want to see them do better than anything I’ve ever done; that’s just the way it should be.”

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
| Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty

Knowing that James was just points away from passing his record, Bryant added that while he didn’t want to be at the court when it happened, in order to make sure he didn’t steal focus, but he would be one of the first ones to congratulate the player.

“I’ll for sure call him and tell him congratulations,” Bryant said. “I’m so happy for ‘Bron, all he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish, he’s been great.”

Sure enough, when James finally broke Bryant’s record of 33,643 points and became the third-highest in NBA history, Bryant congratulated James on the milestone in what would be his final Twitter and Instagram posts.

“On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next,” he wrote.