The NBA on TNT shared the news of Bryant's milestone amid the Lakers' 118-115 loss against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena:
Bleacher Report had the footage of Bryant's landmark bucket:
Bryant scored 18 points in the first half of his final game in Sacramento. His squad trailed 69-48 at the break.
The Lakers entered Thursday's contest with an 8-28 record. Bryant was averaging 17.2 points per contest—but on an average of 17.2 field-goal attempts.
It isn't exactly the swan song Bryant was hoping for to cap off an epic career during which he's won five NBA championships. He probably deserves better. Nevertheless, he refuses to give up, which was evident in his hot opening half against the Kings.
Part of the reason LA hasn't been able to surround Bryant with a better supporting cast is his massive two-year, $48.5 million contract, per ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (via Spotrac). Once Bryant retires, the Lakers will have more financial flexibility to complement their young core of Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle with additional talent.
A head coaching change may well be in order because of Byron Scott's inability to spur progress from the helm of one of the NBA's pre-eminent franchises.
Bryant has already cemented himself as an all-time great, but his relentless competitive fire is still on display amid a compelling farewell tour.