The Los Angeles Lakers superstar shooting guard hit that lofty total with a vintage slithering score in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Hornets. Kevin Ding of the Orange Country Register described the historic play:
Kobe down the lane and over Robin Lopez's outstretched hand to pass the 30,000-point plateau.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 6, 2012
Only four other players, all in the Hall of Fame, have eclipsed that impressive figure in the long history of the league. The list includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain (31,419) and, of course, Michael Jordan (32,292).
Abdul-Jabbar scored his 30,000th point when he was 36 years and 217 days old, while the Mailman accomplished the feat at 36 years and 189 days.
It took MJ a bit longer, hitting 30k at 38 years and 321 days, and the Stilt previously held the record by reaching the mark at 35 years and 179 days.
The Black Mamba, who was drafted into the NBA at the age of 17, is just 34 years of age (he turns 35 next August) and is well on the way to surpassing Kareem’s all-time record.
It’s all going to come down to his health, as Bryant—whose Lakers squad has made the playoffs in all but one of his professional seasons (2004-05)—has logged over 7,000 more minutes than Jordan did when he hit this incredible benchmark.
Bryant, a career 25.4 points-per-game scorer, is on course to surpass Abdul-Jabbar during the 2016-17 season—if he can continue contributing an average of 25 points a contest.
As Kobe starts to reach the twilight of his illustrious career, fans and reporters have become fascinated with dissecting how long he will remain in the NBA and how much the star guard has left in the tank.
Bryant’s main goal right now, obviously, is to match Jordan’s championship total with six, and he is one ring away from doing so. Once he accomplishes that, the next step would be to take on Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record.
The Lakers have been struggling this season and are hovering around .500, but Bryant’s scoring has remained consistent.
If he can keep piling in buckets for the remainder of the season and the next few years, we’ll soon be discussing the race for a record 38,388 points.
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