There is no question that Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, but now Kobe Bryant can lay claim to that title as well. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers guard was fouled and hit two free throws to bypass Jordan and become the third all-time leading scorer in the National Basketball Association.
Jordan, who retired after the 2002-2003 season, had scored 32,292 points in his career playing for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. Yahoo! reported that after Bryant was fouled by Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine at the 5:24 mark in the second half, the two shots he made put Bryant at 32,293 points (and counting) in his career.
After he made the shots, the game was briefly suspended as Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor presented Bryant with the game ball. Bryant is playing well this season, even though the Lakers are a bit mediocre so far, and has almost matched his career point per game average of 25.5 ppg. Currently for the season, he is averaging 25.4 ppg.
As the Inquisitr reported, Bryant has been compared to “Air” Jordan in the past as they both played the same position, shooting guard, and proved they could both lead their teams to championships. Bryant and the Lakers have won five NBA championships together and the Bulls won six NBA titles under Jordon’s leadership.
As ESPN reported, Bryant is now chasing Karl Malone, who scored 36,928 during his career, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is the NBA all-time scoring leader with 38,387 points. However, with Bryant in his 19th season, it is doubtful that the Lakers guard will catch up to either Malone or Abdul-Jabber before he retires.
Bryant entered the NBA at age 18 in 1996, and measured his successes against Jordan, who was his idol. Jordan commented to the Associated Press after Bryant surpassed him on the all-time scoring list.
“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.”
Bryant was congratulated by many current and former NBA players, including LeBron James and Earvin Magic Johnson, via Twitter.
Congrats to @kobebryant on passing his idol Michael Jordan for 3rd on the NBA All-Time scoring list!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 15, 2014
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 15, 2014
[Image via atlantablackstar.com]