Kobe passes Michael on list of top scoring hoopsters Kobe Bryant, in 2014 and Michael Jordan, in 1995, at left (Reuters / AP photo)
Kobe passes Michael on list of top scoring hoopsters
Lexile

Kobe Bryant has reached rarefied air.

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball star passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's career scoring list Sunday night. It happened in a 100-94 Laker victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Bryant entered the game needing nine points to pass Jordan, the icon with whom he is often compared. He got the mark with two free throws with 5:24 to play in the second quarter.

"I'm just honored to be here, man, to still be playing," Bryant said. "I appreciate being able to play this long. Careers normally don't last this long. I really appreciate the opportunity to still be out there playing and performing and doing what I do."

Now, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone have scored more points than Bryant.

"I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone," Jordan, who now is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."

Bryant didn't break a record Sunday night. Abdul-Jabbar is still more than 6,000 points ahead of him and in no danger of being caught. But moving past Jordan was cause for celebration.

The two players have been linked for years. Bryant often mimicked Jordan from his earliest days in the league. Like Jordan, Bryant pumped his fist after big shots. He adopted the fade-away jumper as his career has progressed, and even sprinkled in a little tongue-wagging on his drives to the bucket.

"He knows how much I've learned from him," Bryant said. "From the other legends, but him in particular."

The Timberwolves stopped the game, and the crowd gave Bryant a standing ovation as Wolves owner Glen Taylor presented him with the game ball.

With a big smile on his face, Bryant received hugs from teammates and the Timberwolves. He waved to the crowd.

Bryant has been chasing Jordan for almost two decades now. He's still one league championship short of the six Jordan won with the Bulls, but has now caught Jordan in the game's defining individual statistic.

Bryant had 32,284 points when he took the floor against a Timberwolves team that includes 19-year-old rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, two players who were barely born when Bryant made his NBA debut in 1996.

He missed four of his first five field goals. Then he knocked down a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to pull within two points. He nearly passed Jordan with one of his patented fall-away jumpers from the baseline, but it rimmed out and with 5:24 to play and 24 seconds on the shot clock, No. 24 stepped to the line and calmly swished two free throws to do it. He finished the night with 26 points and 32,310 for his career.

It took Bryant 1,269 games to reach the NBA's career scoring podium. Jordan amassed his 32,292 points in 1,039 regular-season games.

"Just like we've never seen another player like Michael Jordan, we will never see another player like Kobe Bryant!" Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tweeted.

Moving any further up the list will be a challenge. Malone (36,928) is more than 4,500 points ahead of the 36-year-old Bryant for second place. Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) is on top by a healthy margin.

"I think it puts him in the conversation of who is the greatest," Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Bryant. "I think his name's going to be mentioned when it's all said and done. His goal is still to win another championship or two. So we'll have to wait until the book is completed."

Critical thinking challenge: Why can Kobe Bryant still move higher on the career scoring list, but Michael Jordan cannot?

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COMMENTS (249)
  • 15Cyrus-May
    12/19/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    congrats to kobe but jordan is still umber 1 he will always be remembered and just because kobe passed jordan in points doesnt mean he is better then jordan #Jordan Life

  • LucasF-1
    12/19/2014 - 01:11 p.m.

    Kobe Bryant passed Micheal Jordan to take 3rd place in all time scoring. However, MJ did it in less seasons and has more awards. I think MJ is the far superior baller.

  • bgjuly200
    12/19/2014 - 01:26 p.m.

    I don't think Kobe is the best because their is in lots of people that no how to play basketball but don't have chance to all I no is it might be the best but not for me

  • HectorS-Jac
    12/19/2014 - 01:45 p.m.

    I am not a big fan of Kobe but it is so cool how he finally made it up, I knew some day he would make it to the top because whenever people shoot baskets they yell, "KOBE" and swish so a lot of people love Kobe.

    • Gracie_Mae_
      12/19/2014 - 03:14 p.m.

      Kobe is a good player, but he doesn't have the best reputation of being a good person. Kobe isn't my favorite player, that spot is being taken by Lebron, but he did work hard to earn this. Anyone that works as hard as Michel Jordan deserves the credit. MJ is still better in my mind, but Kobe worked hard enough to earn this spot and I'm sure he and his fans are proud. I will say that Kobe's shoes are better than Micheal's.

  • josephcwmsteam1
    12/19/2014 - 01:49 p.m.

    I like Kobe and Michael and I hate arguing over who's better but thumbs up to kobe. And they're the best SG's in the game

  • dylanhwmsteam1
    12/19/2014 - 03:00 p.m.

    WOW! that is amazing I would've never thought that would happen I always thought MJ was the best Basketball player of all time but I Guess kobe Bryant made his point good job Kobe

  • ZachWarwick
    12/19/2014 - 03:07 p.m.

    Congratulations Kobe. it is a great accomplishment in your career. Even though you aren't favorite player you will still be one of the best players in my opinion

    • Jacob_Alvin
      12/19/2014 - 03:34 p.m.

      Good job Kobe! You worked real hard to be in this position. I like both Kobe and Micheal, so Kobe passing him was sour and sweet.

  • AydenB-Jac
    12/19/2014 - 04:02 p.m.

    Jordan is still better than Kobe even if Kobe passes him. Jordan is a better all around player than Kobe. And Kobe takes way more shots than Jordan

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