December 7, 2012
Amidst an unordinary season in Los Angeles involving a coaching change and the Lakers first 0-3 start since 1978, Kobe Bryant still found his way on a billboard. This time it was a career milestone. Ironically, the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft came into the night needing 13 points to reach it. On Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets, Bryant scored 29 points and led the Lakers to a 103-87 victory.
But it wasn’t the performance that led to the win that was of note, it was the basket he made with 1:15 left in the 2nd quarter. Just another signature slashing drive to the basket with an incredible finish gave Bryant 30,000 points for his career. This is what the 30,000 point plateau means for Kobe Bryant:
1. Youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points.
2. 5th player in NBA history to score 30,000 points.
3. The Hall-of-Fame is all but assured considering the 4 others in this club were all inducted: “Cap” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “the Mailman” Karl Malone, Michael “Air” Jordan, and Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain
4. 5,640 of his points so far have come in the NBA Playoffs, which already puts him at 3rd all-time.
5. The only one in the 30,000-point club to not play college basketball
Although Kobe needed more games to reach the 30,000 mark, I don’t think it’s wise to hold that against him. What is going to happen when somebody like Lebron James hits the 30,000-point club? Are we going to downplay his achievement? The answer is no. Kobe at 34 has played an incredible 16 NBA seasons. By only his fifth NBA season he was dropping 28.5 points per game. I would say he adjusted pretty well.
Even after a knee surgery, Bryant still looks ageless. There will come a time when it is no longer easy to score. That time is a far cry from the present for the man they call “The Black Mamba”.