The former Los Angeles Laker and his daughter Gianna died Sunday in the crash, and as many as seven other people may have been killed.
"It was obviously very sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none," the coach said.
Both Tristen Watson and her 17-month-old child died of gunshot wounds to the head in a suicide and homicide, the coroner's office said.
James said he last heard Bryant's voice Sunday morning and "didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have."
Wei Xu's attorney said the judge reduced his prison time by a year because of his service with the federal agency.