Kobe Bryant scored 26 points to score 32,209 for his NBA career in a 100-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 14. In the process, he surpasses Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Kobe Bryant is now the NBA's third all-time leading scorer.
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Bryant scored 26 points in the Los Angeles Laker's 100-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 14. He now has 33,210 for his career, surpassing Michael Jordan's 32,292 points, per ESPN Los Angeles' Baxter Holmes. The moment came when Bryant hit a free throw in the second quarter. He needed nine points to move to third on the league's all-time scoring list.
Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) are ahead of Bryant, per ESPN LA.
According to USA TODAY Sports' Jess Myers, Bryant got off to a slow start with a 1-for-5 shooting clip. He finished the first quarter with four points and began the second quarter with a three-pointer. Tiberwolves rookie Zach LaVine fouled Bryant, who made both free throws to seal his place in NBA history at the 5:24 mark.
Myers repors there was a brief interruption in the game after Bryant made his foul shots. The Target Center crowd of 15,008 rose to its feet to recognize his achievement. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor shook hands with Bryant at center court and then handed him the game ball.
Lakers head coach Byron Scott predicted it wouldn't be long before Bryant surpassed Jordan. Scott thought Bryant could do it before halftime citing "ample opportunities to make shots," and he did, per Myers.
Scott told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday the Lakers "can move on" after Bryant's feat.
Holmes describes Bryant's achievement as "no small feat" considering he has been compared to Jordan ever since he turned pro in 1996. Bryant was all of 18 years old when he first played for the Lakers that year.
For his part, Jordan congratulated Bryant in an interview with The Associated Press (via ESPN LA):
"I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone. He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
Eleven-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson wrote in his book "Eleven Rings" that Bryant was "hell-bent on surpassing Jordan as the greatest player in the game." Bryant disputes this, telling ESPN LA his latest feat is "not a big deal."
He said, "It's really not a big deal to say I passed him for something like that. It's a great accomplishment, but the true beauty is in the journey."
A separate ESPN blog by Holmes notes the Lakers won despite giving up 54 points in the paint to Minnesota while scoring just 38 of their own. Shabazz Muhammad led the Timberwolves with 28 points and nine rebounds.
Bryant has been averaging 25.4 points during the 2014-15 NBA season, per The Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus.
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