2012-13 Top 10 Moments: #5
Kobe Bryant has always been a devastating scorer, and in his 17th season of filling up the bucket, he shot himself right into an all-time milestone.
On Dec. 5 in New Orleans, Bryant became the fifth person in the history of basketball to score 30,000 points, joining Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).
At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant was the youngest in league history to do so.
"It’s a huge honor, to say the least," said Bryant at the time. "Whenever you hear those kinds of names, you think about the amount of players that have played this game, and then to be in that kind of company, it’s always extremely, extremely special."
The mark fell late in the second quarter against the Hornets when Bryant made a pretty dribble move to his left and finished a hanging flick shot over the outstretched arms of 7-footer Robin Lopez. Bryant had 17 of his 29 points by halftime, helping L.A. stick around before a 30-16 third quarter produced a 103-87 win.
Four of the five in the 30K Club wore purple and gold at one point of their careers; the only guy not to was Bryant's scoring idol, MJ.
"This is a franchise that, like I said in the past, guys whose jerseys hang in the rafters are some of the all-time greats, not just greats for the franchise," Bryant explained. "I don’t know if there’s any organization that can say that."
Later that season, on March 31 at Sacramento, Bryant passed Chamberlain, before tearing his Achilles two games prior to the regular season finale to finish with 31,617, just 675 away from Jordan. Though if you ask him, Bryant's more interested in a different number.
"When I was a kid, the only thing I looked at was the ring count because that was the thing that was most important," he revealed. "I knew how many Magic (Johnson) had, I knew how many Larry (Bird) had, I knew how many Doc (Julius Erving) had. Those are the things I looked at the most – teams that won, teams that were successful. I never really knew this person had this many thousand points, this person had this many thousand points."
Yet and still … 30 is a lot of thousands.