The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant should reach a milestone tonight in their game against the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans?). Kobe is at 29,987 points going into tonight’s contest. By reaching 30,000 points, he would be the fifth player to do it in league history.
Because Kobe has been under the shadow of Michael Jordan for so long, I don’t think some people can appreciate what he has done over his career. Only four other players have accomplished this.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 38,387 career points for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers and played for 20 seasons. Unless Kobe plays for about four more seasons after this year and keeps up his scoring binge, I doubt he will break that record. Karl Malone had 36,928 points in 19 seasons for both the Utah Jazz and that lone season for the Lakers. He could’ve passed Jabbar had he chosen to play one or two more seasons after the 2003-04 campaign. Jordan is in third place with 32,292 points in 14 seasons (non-consecutive as he retired twice) for both the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. Had he decided to play 19 uninterrupted seasons (he was drafted in 1984 and made his final retirement in 2003), he probably would’ve broken Kareem’s record.
Wilt Chamberlain is fourth on the list. Chamberlain has 31,419 points and if Kobe plays in the next 64 games, he would have to average 22.4 points to pass him. That should be no problem for Kobe as he hasn’t averaged less than 22.4 points since his third season in the NBA (he averaged 19.9 points per game in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season).
That is some company Kobe Bryant is joining. Right now, he is a polarizing figure and has always started debates when it comes to “best player” arguments. But there is no doubt that once he is finished playing, a lot of people will learn how great he was in his career. Kobe was the closest to the “next Jordan” we’ll ever get. Pretty soon, we’ll be talking about who the “next Kobe” is. 30,000 career points is quite the accomplishment and if you add in his many other accolades, like the five championships, multiple All-Star berths, the Most Valuable Player award he got in 2008, and the two Finals MVP awards, Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest ever to play the game.