Here is a by-the-numbers look at their previous meetings heading into Thursday's game.
Kobe vs. LeBron by the numbers
9 - Each of the past nine NBA Finals has had one team led by either James or Bryant but never both. In that time, James' Cleveland Cavaliers or Miami Heat made the Finals in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2007. Bryant's Lakers were in the Finals in 2010, 2009 and 2008.
James recently said, "I know the world wanted to see it. I wanted it -- we wanted it. He held up his end and I didn't hold up my end, and I hate that. I hate that that didn't happen."
13 and 3 - James ranks 13th and Bryant ranks third on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Bryant enters Thursday's game trailing Karl Malone by 3,593 points for second place on that list. James is 237 points behind Dominique Wilkins in 12th place.
22 - This will be the 22nd head-to-head meeting between James and Bryant. James' teams have won 15 of the previous 21 games. James holds the edge over Bryant in points per game (28.4 to Bryant's 24.6), rebounds per game (7.5 to 5.0), assists per game (7.3 to 5.4) and field goal percentage (47 percent to 42).
28.4 - The Elias Sports Bureau notes that James’ 28.4 points per game against Bryant are the most of any player to face him at least 15 times. Kevin Durant (27.0 points per game head-to-head against Bryant), Allen Iverson (25.3) and Malone (24.6) rank second through fourth on that list.