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Watch Kobe Bryant pass Michael Jordan on all-time NBA scoring list

With two free throws, Kobe Bryant moved into third on the NBA's all-time scoring list, passing idol Michael Jordan on Sunday night. Bryant only trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list Sunday night, the latest feat in a resurgent season for the future Hall of Famer. Bryant is now third among all scorers in league history with 32,293 points, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).

Needing nine points to pass, Bryant hit two free throws in the second quarter Sunday night against the Timberwolves to eclipse Jordan's record. He was fouled by Zach LaVine on a drive, setting up the milestone.


(via Time Warner Cable SportsNet)

The two teams immediately stopped the game for players and coaches to congratulate Bryant. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor came down to give Bryant the ball used to shoot the two free throws.




(via Time Warner Cable SportsNet)

Congratulations started rolling in immediately.

Kobe has mostly avoided discussing the scoring record publicly as he works to save a sinking ship in Los Angeles this season, but his drive to be the greatest and the constant comparisons of the two players' careers is common knowledge.

"Knowing Kobe the way I do, I know that's the one guy he wants to surpass in so many categories," former teammate and Lakers head coach Byron Scott told ESPN's Baxter Holmes earlier this week. "That's the thing that drives him."

"I think we're both cursed with the obsession of trying to be the best that we can," Bryant admitted, via ESPN. "It's a blessing and a curse at the same time."

Jordan released a statement after the milestone, congratulating Bryant on passing him. Via Steve Reed of the Associated Press:

"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."

Now that he has passed his longtime historic rival, it'll be interesting to see how Bryant moves forward with his career. This season, the 36-year-old Bryant leads the NBA in total shot attempts, points and minutes played. Historically, very few players have been able to maintain an elite level of production this long into their careers like Bryant has done.

It won't be easy to surpass Malone, the no. 2 leading scorer. If Bryant continues to score at a rate of the 26 points per game that he's averaging this season, he would be projected to reach Malone's second-place total in 178 games, or a little more than two full regular seasons.

With that said, few athletes are as driven on the court as Bryant, and that's partly he's been able to accomplish such incredible things on the court. Even with this significant feat out of the way, don't be surprised if he continues to find new ways to motivate himself to keep playing through the next couple years.

Bryant is one of five active players in the top-20 among all-time NBA scorers. Dirk Nowitzki (ninth), Kevin Garnett(14th), Paul Pierce (16th) and Tim Duncan (19th) are also climbing the ranks in their mid-to-late 30s.


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