CLEVELAND -- With the Los Angeles Lakers out of playoff consideration -- let alone championship consideration -- it's safe to say there will be only three more games for Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to play against one another.
Two of them will happen this week: on Wednesday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Lakers, and in Sunday's All-Star game in Toronto, where Bryant and James will face off in the annual East vs. West game.
James admitted Monday that seeing Bryant play out his final season has touched him.
"Anytime I even watch his games, even when I'm not playing him, it's always, like, very emotional just knowing it's his last hurrah," James said after the Cavs' 120-100 win over the Sacramento Kings. "And he's done so much, not only for the Lakers organization, but for me as a kid growing up watching Kobe and things of that nature and also competing against him.
"So it's going to be really cool to see him on Wednesday for sure, and hopefully -- I know our fans -- they're going to give him a great reception, well-deserved."
A source told ESPN that the Cavs will honor Bryant with a pregame video, as many teams have done.
It promises to be another special moment for Bryant in a 20-year career filled with them. When Bryant announced his impending retirement in late November, James said his most memorable game with the five-time champion was when they won the gold medal for USA Basketball in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
James shared his favorite Bryant moment on Monday.
"I think my most fond moment is he gave me his shoes when I was in high school," James said. "I think I was playing in a tournament in Teaneck, New Jersey, and they were playing in the  All-Star game in Philly. And I had an opportunity to go meet him, and he gave me a pair of his shoes, and I actually wore them in a game against Oak Hill, against Melo [Carmelo Anthony], actually. So, six degrees of separation right there."
They were a pair of Bryant's signature Adidas sneakers done up with a U.S. flag motif.
James, who signed a lifetime contract with Nike earlier this season, said he does not still have the shoes.
Bryant comes into the Cavs matchup averaging 26.4 points per game over his past five games. That stretch includes a season-high 38 points in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 27 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, and an 11-point flurry to nearly upset the Indiana Pacers in the fourth quarter Monday.
"I mean, I watch all the games, but I definitely watch when he's on and I'm not playing," James said. "He's been in a great rhythm. I hope he gets back to a not-so-good rhythm by Wednesday. But it's fun. It's definitely great to see him out there having fun and doing what he loves to do.
"He's made some big shots. I watched the game in New Orleans, where he made some big shots, and also watched the game at home, when they played Minnesota and he hit some big shots. So it's great to see that."
Although James was mostly gracious when asked about Bryant, he gave a coy response when asked how his relationship with the "Black Mamba" has changed over time.
"I don't want to answer that," James said. "I don't want to answer that."