They bonded as teenagers adjusting to life in the public eye.
And Justin Timberlake, 38, has shared his distress over the loss of his longtime friend Kobe Bryant, 41, in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.
In a grief-stricken Instagram post, the performer chronicled their longstanding friendship.
'We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process,' he wrote in an extensive post. 'I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality.'
Since the start: Justin Timberlake has broken his silence and shared his 'heart is broken' over friend Kobe Bryant on Instagram
No words: In his grief-stricken Instagram, the performer chronicles their longstanding friendship, starting when they were just teenagers
The Grammy winner, who posted several photos shaking hands and embracing the legendary Lakers player, shared with fans how Bryant's perseverance and seeing him do the 'humanly unimaginable' pushed him harder.
'Through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition,' wrote the father of one.
'But, every time we would speak, something started to change... your patience and ease grew,' he continued.
Over the years the pair started families of their own, and began swapping 'old man jokes.'
Driven : Beyond athletes, Timberlake made a point to emphasis the complex, impressive and dynamic accomplishments in both Bryant's personal and professional life
Timberlake shares four-year-old Silas Randall Timberlake with wife Jessica Biel, and Bryant had four children with his wife of 19 years Vanessa Laine Bryant. The Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash.