On this day seven years ago, the late Kobe Bryant surpassed his idol Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Heading into a road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the LA Lakers legend needed only nine points to accomplish the feat. Bryant achieved the monumental moment after hitting two free throws in the second quarter.
Basketball fans and NBA analysts were betting on the event coming early in the first quarter, given how Kobe Bryant’s competitiveness was similar to Michael Jordan’s. However, after only making one of his first five shots, the inevitable was moved to the second quarter. Bryant surpassed Jordan for third on the all-time scoring list with 5:24 in the second quarter and the Lakers leading the Timberwolves 38-32.
7 years ago today, Kobe Bryant passed his childhood idol, Michael Jordan, on the all-time scoring list 💜💛pic.twitter.com/p0yxXWVMw7
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 14, 2021
The opposing Minnesota crowd gave the ultra-talented Kobe Bryant a standing ovation. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor presented the legend with the game ball. As a student of the game, the feat that was accomplished held a special meaning to both the Lakers and Bryant. Before moving to Tinseltown in 1960, the only franchise Bryant ever played for was called the Minneapolis Lakers.
Bryant finished with 26 points in a 100-94 win.
Surpassing Jordan on that list was also sweet for Bryant for another reason. His boyhood idol had six championships to his five, which makes the all-time scoring record a bit of gamesmanship on his mentor.
When Bryant overtook Jordan on the all-time scoring ladder, he was still behind two former Lakers greats. Karl Malone (who spent 18 of his 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were comfortably ahead of him on the list. Bryant’s late-career injuries doomed whatever chances he had of catching Malone.
After 20 seasons with the LA Lakers, Bryant retired with 33,643 points. Malone is second at 36,928 and Abdul-Jabbar leads at 38,387. Another current Laker and future Hall of Famer, LeBron James, is giving a serious chase to Abdul-Jabbar’s top spot.