The 38-year-old singer took to Instagram on Monday to pay tribute to the late Lakers legend.
According to the Grammy winner, the two met when they were teenagers and bonded over their "drive and process."
"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," Timberlake wrote on the social network. "A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day. As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition."
The artist then explained how "something started to change" every time they connected.
"Your patience and ease grew," Timberlake continued. "And it inspired me to continue to grow for myself."