Bryant needed 38 points to overtake Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant in order to win his third career scoring title.
But in a game where Lakers head coach Mike Brown will likely sit the rest of his starters to rest up for the postseason, Bryant has elected to forgo the scoring title to Durant and rest up for the playoffs.
When Kobe is focused on a goal, he achieves it more often than not. That drive is what has made him the superstar he's been throughout his career.
In this case, Bryant focusing on the bigger picture shows what type of superstar he truly is.
Instead of Kobe playing, chucking up 30-35 shots against the Kings Thursday night in what could be viewed as a selfish act to chase an individual goal; Bryant is more focused on the long-term success of the team instead.
It just goes to show how far Kobe has come over the years as a leader.
He’s got nothing to prove at this point in his career and not winning the scoring title won’t damper Kobe’s superstar image at all.
Would the scoring title have been nice?
Certainly, especially to prove a point to all the doubters that was around before the season began. All of those people who said Kobe was done could have been proven wrong in a big way.
Considering what Bryant's been through this season alone, dating all the way back to the torn wrist ligament in the preseason, the scoring title would have been nice, especially since Kobe nearly led the scoring race wire-to-wire.
No player in the NBA works harder on his game or his body or tries harder to win. At 33 years old, with 16 seasons under his belt and the equivalent of about 2.5 more in playoff games, leading the NBA in scoring would have been quite the accomplishment.
Yet Bryant accomplished more by not chasing the accolade.
He’s made the biggest statement of all by saying a sixth ring is far more important than a third scoring title.
Truthfully, Kobe didn’t need it anyway. He’s accomplished everything one can accomplish in the NBA.
Now you can add great leader to that list as well.