It seemed as though the two were destined to meet on the league's biggest stage in the 2008-09 NBA season, but the Orlando Magic stunned James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals only to lose to Bryant and the Lakers in five games in the NBA Finals.
It doesn't sound as if Young, this time around, will ask Bryant to autograph his shoes come Monday. But it was a play late in the game that Durant remembers best.
"I think the player that would fit with me the most, I actually think would be LeBron", Bryant said.
The Golden State Warriors are once again on a dominant path that they know all too well, but head coach Steve Kerr wants his players to, as they say, take a pause and smell the flowers. "It was a great early lesson".
"Maybe one day they'll be able to sit at my lunch table", Bryant said in 2012. "That was a proud moment, playing so well, and finally beating his team in the playoffs". "A couple of years before, they eliminated us in the first round". So, I can say that I won in one-on-one against Kobe in the playoffs.
The five-time National Basketball Association champion will become 10th Lakers player to have his number retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes.
Most fans might have expected Kobe to choose Michael Jordan.
Bryant retired in 2016 following a 20-season career. It was a blatant foul, and the referee just stared at him, looked at him and didn't call the foul.
"I'm kind of scared", he said, chuckling. "It's pretty easy to see that when you're meeting Kobe".
"I do miss that intensity that he brought to the court", Durant said. "He raised everybody's - opponents, coaching staff - just everybody's level of play", Durant said.