With 26 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kobe Bryant moved ahead of Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant received praise from throughout the league after reaching this accomplishment.
After the win over Minnesota, Bryant’s teammates heaped their congratulations upon him.
"That was a big moment in basketball. I'm a big basketball fan. We all are in here. What he's accomplished is so amazing. To score that many buckets in his career; to pass Michael, who most of us of our era consider the greatest of all time. And right behind him is Kobe. To pass Mike tonight, I'm honored to be a part of that, be part of this team and be able to witness greatness.”
"I don't think words can express the feeling that kind of goes through you, man: kind of a goosebump feeling. You just get chills. I'm used to watching these moments when I was a kid: watching NBA classics now and seeing all of the great things that all of the guys did ahead of us. Now, to actually be on the court and affiliated with one of those moments is something that I'll never forget. (It’s) something me and my family, my kids, my kids' kids, can enjoy."
“You see something like that. You’re a part of something like that, so then you want to be able to cherish a win to just put icing on the cake. (There) was nothing individually that I was gonna let happen on my end to lose that game. I told Kobe as soon as we got to the locker room, ‘We’ll do anything we have to do in order to win this game for you, man.’”
"I've never seen that in my life actually when they stop the game. You know you are special when they stop the game."
“It was a great feeling. To witness greatness in front of you and to be a part of it, it was a great feeling for me, so I know it was an even bigger feeling for him.”
"It's just been an unbelievable career. I'm just happy that I was able to share with him in the beginning and to this point as well. That's basically what I told him. I was there when he made his first basket. Now, we go back 17-18 years and this is where he is, I just told him how proud I was of him, how much I love him and how much it's an honor to be coaching him and coaching this team."
"I think it puts him in the conversation of who is the greatest. His name is going to be mentioned when it's all said and done. His goal is still to win another championship or two. So we have to wait until the book is completed, but like I said before in the beginning of the season, he still has a lot left in that tank, so we'll just go from there."
”Almost every goal that he’s set since he was (an) 18-year-old rookie he’s been able to achieve. He still has a few more that he wants to achieve, so it was good to see him just show the appreciation to the fans, as well, and to the Timberwolves for stopping the game and presenting him with the (game) ball.”
Around the NBA
Applause also came in from Bryant’s NBA peers and the league’s legends.
“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.” (From a statement to the Associated Press)
“When the game stopped, it was kind of like, ‘Whoa, the game stopped.’ That’s how it is. He’s one of the best to ever play the game, and I always looked up to him being young, growing up in L.A. I was a big fan of his. I always try and take his post stuff and put it in mine. He’s a great player. That’s something that happened tonight. It was a great experience, and I was happy to be a part of it.”
"He was going to pass it, it was just a matter of when it was going to happen. It's a great achievement of longevity, staying with the situations, going through injuries so to him it's a credit. I think anyone that's been around this game knows Kobe's competitiveness and the things that he brings to the game on a nightly basis."
"I witnessed greatness: a living legend passing Michael Jordan, who everyone thinks is the best of all time. That's a big accomplishment, so I'm glad I was there to witness it."