NEW ORLEANS — Kobe Bryant used several of his skillsets as he became the fifth player in NBA history to surpass 30,000 career points while the Lakers played here against the Hornets.
He drove to the basket with aggression. Bryant used his efficient footwork and deception to draw fouls. He made baseline jumpers. And in what set Bryant over the 30,000 point plateau, he made running floaters.
That shot with 1:16 left in the second quarter put Bryant over the top. With the Hornets leading 48-47 over the Lakers at halftime, Bryant’s 17 first-half points currently cements him with 30,004 points spanning a storied 17-career that includes five NBA championships, two Finals MVPS, one regular-season MVP and four All-Star MVPs.
Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) have scored more baskets in NBA history. Although Bryant represents the one of three Lakers players in the NBA’s top five scoring list, he remains the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer since he posted all his points wearing purple & gold.
“I want to shake his hand. I think Kobe as a talent and a competitor, he’s up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan as one of the greatest ever,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern, who attended the Lakers-Hornets game. “Kobe has had such an extraordinary run playing at the highest level for so long and the championships to prove it in a league that is extremely competitive. Kobe and the Lakers have been an important part of the league and I wish them well for this season and beyond.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni couldn’t help but take a dig at the accomplishment.
“That means he’s old,” D’Antoni said, drawing laughs. He then waxed nostalgic.
“”Not many people can get that achievement. That’s something that’s earned.”
Bryant sure did, becoming the youngest player to reach the milestone. When the Hornets public announcer brought up Bryant’s record, the fans at New Orleans Arena gave Bryant a loud round of applause. Bryant then held up his right hand to express appreciation.