Kobe Bryant: How Shooting to Pass Shaq on Scoring List Was Latest Selfish Act

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IFebruary 7, 2012

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 03:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball as Arron Afflalo #6 of the Denver Nuggets defends at the Pepsi Center on February 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is at it again.

A lights-out first half last night against the Philadelphia 76ers saw Bryant score the 24 points he needed to pass former teammate Shaquille O'Neal for fifth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

It's a great accomplishment for Bryant, but shooting to pass Shaq and making that a goal was the latest selfish act we've seen from Bryant.

Bryant's always made it known that he wants to be the greatest Laker player ever and O'Neal acknowledged that wish last night by offering congratulations after Bryant's jump shot from 23 feet with 5:08 left in the first half gave him the 24 points he needed to pass O'Neal.

The selfish part though has nothing to do with passing Shaq. He was going to do that anyway very soon.

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  (L-R) Kobe Bryant #24 and Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Western Conference sit together on the bench during the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.
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It's just that throughout his career, everything has always had to be about himself. If Bryant's not happy with the Lakers, he will let you know about it for sure. It doesn't matter if it's been running down teammates in the media or demanding a trade when not happy. Bryant has always been a selfish player.

Sometimes though, that's not entirely a bad thing.

It's been that selfishness and his desire to be the best that's fueled Bryant. Without it, he wouldn't have been the same player.

However, it backfired last night.

Once Bryant got the number he needed to pass Shaq, he killed the Lakers the rest of the game.

He helped shoot the Lakers out of the game, scoring only four points the rest of the night, finishing 10-for-28 from the floor; including a woeful 1-for-10 from the floor in the fourth quarter.

Despite a 55-30 rebounding edge, the Lakers fell to 14-11 on the season and a lousy 3-9 mark on the road.

Yet, the important thing to talk about was the fact that Bryant passed Shaq.

A win probably would have been a better story.